Lucy Rose has an image so clean it practically sparkles, and her set certainly stays true to the spotless indie pop her fans have become accustomed to. This is not to say she is a dull performer; her persona on stage has certainly become much more confident and colourful since her nervous touring with Like I Used To, released in 2012. Her 2015 album Work It Out appears to have given her more of a spark in her set, not just thanks to the gorgeous electric guitar featuring in many of her new songs.
The Lucy Rose of 2012 was a far shakier performer than this 2015 version, who springs around the stage in indie shirts and sneakers and actively engages with her audiences. Still squeaky clean but with a deeper sense of self, there is an authenticity to her sweetness. Indeed, it was particularly telling to compare her to her first support act, the sublime Billie Marten, a sixteen-year-old still in those anxious throes of rising recognition that Rose appears to have thrown off to achieve this deeper realism apparent in her set.
Rose achieves something all live performers should aim for: a real emotional tie to her audience. ‘Shiver’ in particular was especially stunning, and left many in the audience tearful. It was incredibly easy to relate to the wistful tones of ‘Nebraska’. However, Rose suffers from the gentle nature of both her albums, however delightful her songs may be. Her second support act, the stunning Jake Isaac, had a set so alive and joyful that it felt almost like a let down to suddenly be presented with the stripped-back set of Rose. Indeed, many were saying afterwards that they would have happily watched Isaac for another hour instead of Rose. It’s not to diminish the talent of Rose, but her set would be far more engaging if she had played around more with her songs, and offered her audience more of a vivaciousness that they were not even aware they particularly wanted until Isaac hit the stage.
All in all, Rose delivers on stage what she promises in her album; a clean and clear performance of her richest songs from her back catalogue, with a sweet and unthreatening politeness that puts her audience immediately at ease. She is certainly more relaxing than stimulating, and whilst delightful to listen to, you do leave the arena feeling you wanted more.
If Rose is going to progress as a performer, she needs to embrace the grittiness that is evident in her grunge skinny jeans but not in the largely innocence nature of her songs. While she has certainly delved deeper into her emotional abilities with her experience as a musician, she needs to completely throw off the comfort of her shy persona to become bigger than she currently allows herself to be.