Katie Elle Reeve’s alter ego bustles in late for NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH, her show at The Newsagency. Having arrived hot and flustered and out of breath, there’s only one option… do what she does best. Sing! Brilliantly! Here begins a really great set from a singer/ songwriter who has created an oversharing, let it all hang out character who dances like an aerobics queen yet can break your heart with a ballad.
Her launch number is a high energy, up-tempo affair about a shitty day. It has a bejewelled bat for emphasis and a bebop swing that has you toe tapping through to the raucous end. It’s obvious that this audience is “quality people” and Reeve can now share some intimate secrets. Her next song is engrossing, slow, amatory and tells of a sexy longing for her neighbour who doesn’t close his blinds. The mournful trumpet and drum heavy beat give added weight to this intimation of desire.
Not one to be classified though, Reeve has chosen songs which show the range of both her fantastic voice and her emotional rendering. Next up, a Reeved-up ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ takes us to the heart of an embarrassing problem with wit and style. And the song sits beautifully in her range, warm lower sequences and those soaring peaks without the breathiness we sometimes associate with the song. Delicious to watch and hear.
The songs that now tumble onto the sweet stage in this lovely intimate venue have variety aforethought. Directed by Brendan De La Hay, NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH showcases the wonderful musicianship of the band, without overwhelming the singing. Chris on drums, William on bass, Conrad at the keys and with Heather on trumpet and flute. There’s a martial beat in one song then into some fluid jazz and onto a smooth ballad where the band plays just under. Add into this an excellent audio mix and De La Hay has created a tight set that entertains and lifts the spirits. And left room for Reeves delightful Scat.
Reeve shreds at a comic song which brings her off the stage into the appreciative audience but she can also stand still at a locked off mic, alone in a spot, and touch the soul with a song which is quite simply, poetry “for dreamers”. Sublime and lyrical, this song towards the end of the set is about forgetting the past and the excellence of the whole night is on display. The tempo is perfection and as it picks up pace with the theme the listener is carried along to a place of loss and friends gone. Just marvellous!