Live review: Lily & Madeleine at The Birdcage, Bristol
On the year’s most romantic day, Lily & Madeleine gave listeners a love of their music that’s sure to endure
ctober of last year saw the debut of a little known duo from Indianapolis begin to make headway among writers across the land, for its stoic loveliness. It was fitting then that the day that’s remained steadfastly devoted to love was the date to which Bristol’s Birdcage was given the opportunity to witness the songs of Lily & Madeleine off the record and on stage.
The venue was of such intimacy that it was near womb-like. If pins had dropped then they would have been a waterfall in a sink, as the pair opened with the Nick Drake-esque In The Middle. Taken from the sisters’ superb 2013 single The Weight Of The Globe, the song bore all the melodic subtlety of folk’s beautiful, doomed, poet, but had none of the pathos of his fragile soul. It was a fitting beginning to a set that shared the harmonic qualities of a spring forest.
Led through their pastoral tones, it was easy to become lost in the quality of their songs; five had passed in only fifteen minutes when they reached I’ve Got Freedom – a song the pair had performed live on Clive Anderson’s Radio 4 show. Though their musical roles were defined generally as Lily taking the guitar duties, Madeleine on keyboard and a dual vocal approach, they switched roles on occasion. Lily joined Madeleine on the keyboards and Madeleine became the guitarist that saw Lily on vocals alone.
With the venues intimacy seeing the folky qualities of their music taking precedence over their elements of Americana, it allowed the perfect backdrop for their vocal prowess to shine. With the subtle differences in their delivery and beautiful harmonisation leaving the audience almost stationary for the entirety of the performance. They closed their set with a more than faithful, and entirely apt, cover of Cat Power’s Sea Of Love. This went to serve the qualities that Lily & Madeleine shared with the Atlanta songwriter, while, as with their resemblance to Drake, emphasised the key difference; the sense of optimism that runs through their songwriting.
As the audience departed, they were left another thing to find love in – the wonderful folk-pop of Lily & Madeleine. With their self-titled debut out now, theirs is a love that deserves celebrating every day of the year.
Words: Damien Girling