Singer-songwriter Rachael Yamagata‘s headline gig at the Islington Assembly Hall was a pleasure to experience. Her beautiful voice and her witty personality went down like a storm with the modest-sized crowd. Joking away with the audience throughout her set, it felt like a real personal performance. Opening with “Has It Happened Yet”, a song she wished was her saddest number but was not. Her songs definitely have an emotional pull to them, but they still end up making you feel warm inside. It was tough to walk around to take photos as the room was deadly silent while she performed.
With a solo career that started way back in 2001 and four albums, I was surprised that I had not come across her before. She has a dedicated fanbase, who obviously feel close to her. One fan declared he loved Yamagata more than his own mother, and for his reward he was invited on the stage to provide the backing vocals to “Let Me Be Your Girl”. Yamagata even treated some of the photographers to an impromptu photo shoot at the front of the stage (I was too busy buying a beer to join in!). With the help of Becky Doe on violin and guitarist Kevin Salem and later Brandon Jenner, it was a night of fantastically delicate music.
Brandon Jenner provided a wonderful opening set for the evening with his gentle folk music. Armed with just an acoustic guitar he settled the crowd down for their evening. He spoke of his recent music video for “I Believe” with one member of the crowd holding up a sign referencing it. You can check out the video on Youtube.
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