Headlining at The Lexington you had the one and only Michelle Branch. I thought this day would never come, honestly it felt too good to be true. Getting a ticket for this was actually easier than I’d anticipated. This mainly fell down to the fact Michelle hadn’t really promoted it via her social media accounts. Anyways the moment she announced it on both Twitter and Facebook this impeccable event sold out instantly.
I arrived at The Lexington around 1pm which is early for an 18+ gig. Still myself and a few other Branchie’s met Michelle when she arrived. Despite the fact she needed to soundcheck Branch still found the time to sign items and have photos taken with each of us. When upstairs finally opened I managed to snag my spot right at the front, to the left of me was the set list which compromised of 13 tasty tunes. The fact she was to debut 8 from Hopeless Romantic was a nice surprise. At 9pm Michelle and her band graced the stage. After some teething problems with Michelle’s guitar it was then full steam ahead. “Now I feel like we’ve got that out of the way. So we’re all really close so we’re going to play a few songs for you guys. We’re going to play some old songs and some new songs tonight” Branch mentioned before they all got stuck into Best You Ever. This is the latest Michelle Branch tune out there and just witnessing it live was something incredibly special. It’s a departure from Michelle of the past. Best You Ever was an infuriating indie rock anthem aided by sparkling compelling lyrics “I want you to remember me/ Every time you scream as the Best You Ever/ I want you to remember me/ In a lucid dream, as the Best You Ever” and Branch’s exquisite vocals which packed a punch. After all the applause it was then time for the first newie of the evening and this coming in the shape of You’re Good. This was a fresh and funky cut which hit me like a ton of bricks. Those succulent lyrics were a slice of perfection “Everybody tells me that your not in love/ No one understands you like I do/ Now they change their minds because their not in love, not in love/ Never now what love can be like with you”and Branch’s vocal tones were super sweet. After some more tuning issues it was then time for the first oldie of the night and this coming in the form of Breathe. Now this was the 2nd song to be lifted from the album Hotel Paper way back in 2003. Now Breathe was my favourite single from the Hotel Paper era (Are You Happy Now was the only UK single but Breathe was released in both the US and Australia). Anyways this number was a real epic and it still sounds amazing 14 years on. Those vibrant verses were so smooth and that chorus was catchy like hell “If I just Breathe/ Let it fill the space between/ I’ll know everything is alright/ Breathe/ Every little piece of me/ You’ll see/ Everything is alright/ If I just Breathe”. This captivating joyous pop cut had everyone singing along.
“We made it here. Not only wasn’t my guitar cable wasn’t working our plane caught on fire. This gig is 16 years in the music. I’m a huge Anglophile so will someone just adopt me. I’ll sing for my supper I cook” Michelle Branch then said before getting stuck into the first single to be taken from the 4th record and this being Hopeless Romantic. This number was a real epic which oozed plenty of indie rock vibes. Branch’s smooth vocal tones were spot on and those compelling lyrics had me hooked “Cause I’m a Hopeless Romantic/ When I should run for my life/ Honey, I don’t understand it/ Cause it’s magic, but it’s tragic/ I know you’re gonna eat me alive/ You’re gonna eat me alive”. Michelle’s smoky vocal tones reminded me of another talented American singer/ songwriter and that being Lissie. “I have a song coming out next week I believe here. It’s my new single” Branch said before getting stuck into Fault Line. This was a whimsical tune which Michelle delivered to perfection. That drumbeat gave it that upbeat edge and the melody was so soothing. As for those luscious lyrics, these were so exquisite the verses were pure perfection and then you have that blissful chorus which left me in a daze. I definitely cannot wait to hear the studio version of this song. Once over it was onto the sophomore single which featured on The Spirit Room. All You Wanted was terrific tune which had plenty of people singing along to every single lyric. Michelle’s sumptuous vocals were so pristine and the whole entrancing musical arrangement resulted in something magical. It was then onto one of Michelle’s favourites from the new album. “There’s a line in the song that I think is really important right now. Cos you can’t help who you love” Branch mentioned before delving into Heartbreak Now. Now this was so charming, Branch’s vocals were extremely fluffy which left me hypnotised. Those lyrics grabbed my attention especially the chorus where Branch said the line “You can’t help who you love”. Still Heartbreak Now was a majestical cut with ace lyrics and a melody which made me think of Florence & The Machine’s Third Eye. Oldie Goodbye To You went down a treat, I must say this is my favourite single from The Spirit Room era. Now this whimsical ballad was a swooning cut aided by wonderful infectious lyrics. Goodbye To You was drenched with plenty of emotion and like Breathe this tune sounded better than ever.
“This next one is a booty call. I hope that does well for you guys” and the new song in question was Temporary Feeling. Now this was utter perfection, in these past 16 years Michelle has matured and this upbeat cut was a hook up anthem with sensual lyrics “It’s just a Temporary Feeling/ And I don’t need to take it slow”. Straight after it was then time for the first single to be taken from Hotel Paper. Are You Happy Now? is one hell of a jam which packed a fierce punch. Compared to the original studio version the whole arrangement had been slowed down. Branch’s shimmering vocals were spotless and she delivered it with plenty of gusto “Could you look me in the eye/ And tell me that you’re happy now/ Would you tell it to my face/ Have I been erased/ Are You Happy Now, Are You Happy Now”. I actually picture Michelle asking that question to the UK fans the moment that this show was announced. “Thank you for coming tonight. I really hope to be back in September. Thank you guys for coming tonight it really means a lot to me. This is a show I’ve been wanting to do for years” Branch said to the packed out audience before ending with Living A Lie. This cut was pop rock which resulted in something rather magical. Those punchy lyrics were extraordinary and Michelle’s vocals reminded me of Kate Bush.
“Since we had that guitar malfunction, we were going to walk off stage and like wait to have an encore.I’m past that. We’re just going to play a couple of more songs. You have no idea how happy I am to be playing a show right now it’s been so long. I think I have this slight fear that no one will show up apart from you mum and dad. Which is fine they are really supportive” Branch then said before tackling her debut single. This being Everywhere and as expected it was a massive sing along. Now this breathtaking number was slowed down which resulted in something rather spellbinding. Now that magical chorus can quite easily have you swaying from side to side “‘Cause you’re Everywhere to me/ And when I close my eyes it’s you I see/ You’re everything I know/ That makes me believe/ I’m not alone/ I’m not alone” Michelle who sang this captivating cut by herself delivered this to perfection. “I actually wrote it here in London. Thank you guys for again for coming out” Michelle humbly said before the curtain closed on The City. This wonderful tune is also the closing track on the new LP Hopeless Romantic. Now The City was so soothing and those delightful mesmerising lyrics were ever so smooth “Every shape and trans Atlantic cover/ Wrap around me I discover/ Where I just wanna get as far as I can run to/ From the sun in California/ I don’t how the worst is ever going to win me/ Coz I’m breathing in the water/ I’m going to drown out every sentimental memory. Find the courage to start over”. Now this was a phenomenal chilled out cut which Michelle Branch flawlessly delivered.
Best You Ever
All You Wanted
Goodbye To You
Are You Happy Now?
Living A Lie
OVERALL: Where do I start, this evening was a literally a dream come true and I never ever thought I would see the day where Michelle Branch held a showcase in the capital. She was literally right in front of me resulting in me gazing into her eyes appreciating every single moment.
The new songs are incredible which makes me anticipate the release of Hopeless Romantic on the 7th April. Out of the 6 new cuts Branch showcased (I’m not including both Best You Ever or Hopeless Romantic) I would say my favourite was Temporary Feeling closely followed by The City. But then again the likes of You’re Good, Heartbreak Now, Fault Line and Living A Lie were sensational.
Then you had the old tunes and just hearing these transported me back to my childhood. Goodbye To You was the first song of Michelle’s I heard way back in 2001 resulting in me becoming addicted to her music. Then you had the likes of Are You Happy Now and Breathe which had been taken from Hotel Paper. Hearing the likes of these uplifted me.
Once the night was over I decided to stick around in hope that Michelle would emerge from backstage. Moments later Branch came out from back stage and met her adoring fans. Meeting Michelle again fulfilled my dreams.
The countdown till September begins now.