"You make me want to be a better fan"
The Bedford is an astonishing little discovery in Balham, right near the overland and underground stations. An interesting venue with good food and the most amazing area for live music that you’ve ever seen in the back of a pub! The performance area is a scaled down version of the Globe Theatre complete with balconies and staged area. It certainly is a well kept secret, hidden in South London. Another bonus is that their Thursday night Live @ The Bedford is completely free. Book a table in advance, order your food early and sit back and watch a range of talent that is unprecedented. It is in this arena that we see Laura on her third live gig of the week.
It is a friendly, intimate little venue with all the artists milling around between performances and a few famous faces dotted around. Julian Lennon was sitting just behind us as we watched Laura perform. There are five “new” artists billed tonight, although we had six plus the host, who also got his guitar out. But it’s that type of venue. Each of the main acts plays two songs and then after an interval they come back and play another two songs apiece. In the first half Laura is up last. She shows no signs of nerves as she sits and enjoys the other performances and then suddenly the spotlight is on her; it’s just her and the band. Opening with her great version of “Communication” she really gets the crowd going. Her voice fills the room and soars majestically through the track. It’s immediately obvious that she doesn’t need the backing singers that accompanied her on her first live outing back in freezing February. For her second track she changes the mood and launches into her current single, the self penned “There Was a Time”. It goes down a storm and she gets the biggest cheers of the night as she moves off stage.
Using the interval to try and get a feel for the public reaction I get talking to some fellow patrons in the queue for the Ladies loos. They are already enthusing about how wonderful Laura’s tracks were and how professional her performance was when I join them! It’s nice to hear other people appreciating Laura as much as we do!
More drinks in hand we settle down for the second half. All the artists are playing in a different order this time and to our delight Laura is up first. Her third track is the wonderful “Stumbling”, and once again she gets the audience going. Looking very relaxed, she has great stage presence and looks very at home being herself. Her final track is the rousingly upbeat “Sweet Solution”. It was written by Jamie Cullum for her and is a very energetic anthem that sees Laura bouncing all over the stage. It’s only the second time that we’ve heard it but it has a great hook and the words stay in your head. It’s a real sing a long song and I can’t wait for it to get a bit more exposure; a sure hit. Laura comes bouncing offstage to loud applause and cheers. She is a sensation! Again! Always! The non partisan crowd loved her; the partisan crowd love her anyway and were there because sometimes you just can’t get enough of a good thing.
Net and Geoff, 20th April 2006