Clare Maguire @ The Borderline 11th February 2011

Having already seen Clare headline New To Q at Bush Hall I was immediately looking forward to seeing The Borderline. It was no surprise that this date sold out because Maguire is a phenomenol artist. I infact arrived at the venue at 4pm which did turn out to be a slight mistake as it was after 5.30 when the following two people arrived. If you want to be right at the front for a gig you have to get there early. Infact I heard Clare soundchecking Ain’t Nobody and after that all I had to keep me occupied was a internet connection on my phone. By 7pm around 20 fans were queueing outside The Borderline when the doors opened. They actually opened a little after 7 but when they did I made my way down the stairs and to the front. The fact that there was no barrier makes it intimate and slightly more personal for the fans right at the front. Reason being is if you are at the front the artist who is onstage is ever so close to you. I then sat on the edge of the stage and waited for the first act of the night. The fact I knew a couple of people at the gig made the changeovers feel quicker as we chatted about gigs and music. There were two people supporting Clare tonight this being Murray James and Saint Saviour. I had never heard of Murray before so I was intrigued to hear what his music sounded like. Murray James sung 6 songs and had just flown in from New York meaning he was tired. Actually his music wasn’t for me. I did enjoy a couple of songs though. Now second on the night was Saint Saviour now this was a band whom were very intersting. The lead singer was very energetic and she also had glitter on her eyelids to look like eyes. In fact this band supported Hurts as well with Clare Maguire. One of the songs that was in the set was Fallen Trees and there is actually traces of Kate Bush in the songs. The acoustic songs were wonderful and they were also selling debut EP Anatomy at the back of the room.

It a little after 9.45 when Birmingham’s finest took to the stage. Over the past week I had attended two other Next Big Thing gigs but this by far was my favourite one. Judging by this performance it is puzzling why Clare did not finish higher than #5 on the BBC Sound Poll. If I was to do a poll of artists whom I reckon will have a successful year Maguire would definately be at the top. The set was exactly the same as Bush Hall with the addition of a extra song and a different cover. Opening up what was to be an outstanding night was Ain’t Nobody (Breakage Remix). Clare was wearing a black sparkling basque and when she took to the stage Maguire then scanned the packed audience. This is such a amazing song this remix has a slight dubstep vibe. Clare’s vocals were amazing and she belted out this song. The Shield And The Sword followed on and I really liked this powerful song. The lyrics are brilliant. It seemed like Clare was more comfortable with her audience after pointing to people when she sang the line “I no longer love you”. “I wan’t you to move” Clare asked the crowd before launching into You’re Electric which went down well with the audience. This song showed off Clare’s extrodinary vocal range as well. Before Break These Chains Maguire asked if anyone in the crowd had a strong gin.  This is a wonderful song which Maguire belted out. The song was delivered perfectly and Clare had hit the high notes with no problem at all. Upcoming single The Last Dance came next and it was a song which was a real audience pleaser. I love this power ballad and the lyrics (especially the chorus) are really catchy. During the song Maguire pointed to loads of people in the crowd during the line “I’ll save my Last Dance for you”. Now Maguire’s Last Dance would be with plenty of people. Bullet was next which was a song that I had never heard before. Maguire asked if anyone smoked so therefore could wave the lighters in the air. This song was ever so beautiful which was delivered perfectly by Clare. After the song was over there was a rapture of applause.

I Surrender was next on the night and this song had been crossed off the set list. Well there was plenty of energy in this song and everyone loved it. I can’t wait till when the debut album Light After Dark is released on February 28th. Following on was a cover on the set list there was a choice of two this being Fleetwood Mac cover Big Love or a song by gospel singer Rosetta Tharpe. This song hadn’t been rehearsed and was dedicated to HMV’s Next Big Thing. In fact Rosetta is Maguire’s biggest insperation of a female artist. Still Trouble In Mind was superbly sung and this version did blow me away. I hadn’t heard the original version of the song but it had the same feel to it like At Last by Etta James. This was truly a remarkable cover which Maguire completely nailed. Ending the night was The Happiest Pretenders. Alot of people were moving and grooving to this song.  It is also a beautiful song as well. It definately capped off what was an amazing night.

SET LIST

Ain’t Nobody (Breakage Remix)
The Shield And The Sword
You’re Electric
Break These Chains
The Last Dance
Bullet
I Surrender
Trouble In Mind
The Happiest Pretenders

OVERALL: I really enjoyed this night and Clare was on top form. This was the perfect way to spending the Friday evening hearing music you adore being played live. Actually I thought Clare’s performance was better than when I saw her play at Bush Hall. Maguire was fantastic at Bush Hall but what slightly edged it this time was the fact Clare interacted with more people in the audiece. Being at the front of the stage made the set feel slightly personal and intimate as well. Myself and a couple of friends were hanging round the bar area and then met Clare which was very nice.

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