Hushed tones fill the candle lit venue, seats organised in rows filled up as people eagerly await the arrival of San Fran singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt; it’s the kind of atmosphere that works so well in Mono’s open charming spaces– the only thing missing really is the sunshine we had earlier, still with that we wouldn’t have the candles I guess.
Before we get the chance to witness Pratt’s bewitching songwriting we have the pleasire of a support slot from locally based, Irish born singer Martha Ffion, who possesses a soft and delightful voice that’s met a deserved respect from the settled audience.
Ffion, accompanied by electric guitar, goes on to deliver some charmingly subtle folk enthused ditties, that wash over Mono in an instant and sets us up nicely for the headliner.
Jessica Pratt cuts a distinctive figure, sat centre stage hunched almost timidly over an acoustic guitar, which she caresses carefully into submission; her vocal delivery fixed with brushes of 60s influence as she ushers the crowd into a dream-like state.
The cosy venue is filled with an awed silence; it’s rare you get the opportunity to just sit and let the music pour over you in a live setting, but this is one of those nights: no whooping, no gimmicks, no nuggets trying to sing-along, just a woman, and accompanying guitarist Cyrus Gengras, letting her music and words float across an audience who sit transfixiated by the captivating performance.
It’s almost therapeutic stuff, gentle yet entrancing; Pratt doesn’t say much outside of her songs, but she doesn’t need to.
This is touching stuff that could settle the worst storm, so much so that it goes by almost unnoticed that she doesn’t play her most popular song to date, ‘Back, Baby’; she doesn’t need too.
Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Tim J Gray