Playing a gig during the final of Euro 2012 might not be the best marketing ploy; Tut’s is less than half full tonight but the result is to give the evening the intimate feel of an even smaller venue.
Everyone is so close to the stage that Jesca Hoop, looking spectacular clutching a white Gibson with stylishly chaotic hair, often speaks directly to members of the audience.
In fact she speaks a great deal and the show is part storytelling exercise - we are told the story behind almost every song in the set.
Sometimes these are delivered from the heart, as with that of teaching her mother to smoke pot in order to ease the pain of cancer.
Others are long, memorised prose delivered like an actress, all flourishes and dramatic emphasis.
Ms Hoop makes for an engaging presence in these moments and it eases the usual audience unease at hearing a set almost entirely made-up of songs from new album The House That Jack Built.
Jesca Hoop made her name with songs like tonight’s opener ‘Murder of Birds’, a beautiful and understated folk track however, the new album brings a different side to the performer and a more upbeat approach.
She is flanked by a guitarist and back-up vocalist and backed up by electronic drums and backing tracks.
The effect is that songs like new single ‘Born To’ sound big and more like conventional pop tracks.
“A lot of people don’t know that you can dance to this music,” she tells us in a wry attempt to encourage some movement in the crowd, but that seems to be the slogan that drove the new album.
At times there’s an almost garage rock ethic while the enjoyable ‘Hospital’ is just built around a big, old fashioned hooky chorus.
This does not mean that the Jesca Hoop of old has gone - when the band leave the stage a striking solo performance of ‘Peacemaker’, laden with effects on the record and stripped back here, silences the room.
As does the title track of the album, which relies almost solely on her beautiful vocals and lyrics that aren’t explained to us tonight, perhaps because they are just a little too personal.
“It’s not enough” goes the chorus, and for the lucky few of us here tonight, that’s very true.
An artist that deserves a wider audience and a live performance that deserves to be seen.
Words: Alastair Mitchell
Photos: Ingrid Mur