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MUSIC REVIEW: Jesca Hoop and Worry Dolls @ Sage Gateshead

August 4, 2017 11:00 am

22nd July

For more Sage Gateshead listings, click here.

Review by Jade Gadd.

Jesca Hoop

An entirely unexpected adventure!

When I arrived at The Sage I was greeted by the sounds of an Americana festival and the faces of people who were having a brilliant time! Cars were being loaded as if people had just come from the beach, random instruments made of tin cans were being played. Children and adults were all laughing and having fun in the main hall of the Sage’s festival. But just around the corner there lay a hidden gem. A room with beautiful acoustics, just waiting to be sung in.

On came Worry Dolls, a band I’d never heard of before, with their array of instruments and folk-indie voices. In between songs the band kept a friendly feel to the set as they chatted with the audience and told us about the release of their first album.

Worry Dolls had the crowd of partying adults, friends and families going wild with excitement as their upbeat tracks found the hearts of many. Feet tapping, hands clapping and souls lifted, we were ready for the legendary Jesca Hoop!

Jesca’s music was beautiful, especially considering she’d only been with her current band for one performance before the festival. Wikipedia refers to her as using ‘diverse music styles’; well, I, for one, couldn’t pin it down to a particular genre. Her voice fluttered freely from octave to octave, and her fingers picked at the strings of her instrument as if it was as natural as breathing. Her lyrics challenged the audience on common issues in life, and perhaps had deeper meanings still than what was first heard. Whilst I had been played some of Jesca’s music before, I don’t think I’d really thought about the actual words. It brought me to tears.

She kept up a humorous tone in between songs and wasn’t afraid to banter with the audience.

The Sage was, of course, a beautiful and entirely accessible venue with utilities which were to The Gala what Love Actually is to Four Weddings and a Funeral. Yes it was amazing, but there was also a little something extra that I wasn’t expecting – such as the fresh chilled beers served just outside the door.

I would recommend these acts for ages 18 and up, but the content in Worry Dolls may have been suitable for younger people too.

Personally I would love to hear Worry Dolls again. I bought their album and band t-shirt because I loved it so much! I’m pleased that I experienced Jesca Hoop, but maybe it’s a one-time-is-enough thing for me? I found it quite emotionally distressing, but perhaps that was exactly the point. After all, a jolly bit of Bruno Mars may be good for waking up in the morning, but music can be used to insight change and evoke emotions we didn’t even know were inside of us; like how in a great exercise class you can discover a muscle you didn’t know you had. Well I think maybe Jesca Hoop’s music is made to do just that. I, for one, am forever changed by my unexpected adventure!

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