It had been almost 12 years to the day since I’d last seen English singer songwriter Beth Orton in Melbourne. In 2000 she’d played at the Prince of Wales in St Kilda, touring her 1999 LP Central Reservation.
This time around, the venue was in the city – the iconic but slightly tired Athenæum Theatre. With a short, entertaining and quirky support act from Vermont native Sam Amidon, Beth took to the stage casually around 9pm.
Armed with a couple of guitars and a grand piano, she delivered a well chosen selection of tunes from her as yet unreleased new album to accompany those tunes from the past.
Whilst perhaps not in the league of another British female singer/songwriter PJ Harvey, whom I’d seen only 5 days prior, Orton still managed to captivate the sold out crowd with her storytelling and genuine on stage persona. Music and songwriting has never been a competition anyway. Well…much.
Opening with two back to back offerings from 1996′s successful Trailer Park, Touch Me With Your Love starts off and draws a warm response.
Kicking off her shoes and standing barefoot at the microphone, Orton pulls the audience in with the quite brilliant She Cries Your Name.
There’s a good mix of old and new tonight, and it’s all delivered by Beth Orton – along with the help of some onstage guests – with her trademark warmth and unmistakable voice.