By Natalie Greener
July 22nd was a very special day for the music scene in Nottingham. It is not a regular occurrence for a young artist, who has only recently released their debut EP, to sell out any venue – let alone one of Nottingham’s most iconic and prestigious gig locations.
The Bodega is known to have the best of new and old talent grace its walls on a weekly bases. However, Tori Sheard’s delicate yet fascinating voice truly was something to compete with. Being a local, and regular audience member of The Bodega located on PeIham Street, I have never witnessed such a hype and concentrated excitement towards one gig. With Tori’s gentle nature and unimaginable skill as a lyricist, her and her music rallied up a large crowd of supporters to congratulate the indie folk singer on her success since the release of ‘Edge of the Earth’ in late 2018.
Amongst those happy to see her sell out and make this a night a memorable one were the two support acts; Olly Hensby alongside Kelsey and The Embers. Enchanting sounds to compliment the singer-songwriter vibes of Tori’s set, the room managed to create a relaxed atmosphere early on. Olly Hensby,also being a local Nottingham artist, managed to fill the room quickly with his stand out reputation as a twenty one year old talent who is sure of himself and his sound. His music had a modern twang found in very few acoustic artists, instantly emphasising a chill and groove like feel to his songs. Having a minimalist yet enticing set, Olly knew how to please the crowd and warm them up for the rest of the night. Chilled out and evidently talented, his skills really showed as a solo performer despite an impeccable duet towards the end of his set.
Nearly a full house by this point, two hundred or so eager faces looked upon the stage for the second support artist. Kelsey and The Embers are a four-piece indie alternative band with a distinct sound and varied portfolio. The band’s lead, Kelsey Shaw is a former FSN finalist and Young Creatives Winner with her work being well known around the town. The band had such a distinct acoustic sound with a constant underlying hint of the pop genre creeping out in every song. It was certainly a hybrid of genres id like to see more of!
Now the woman of the hour, Miss Tori Sheard, could not have come onto the stage with any less than the standing ovation she deserves. This sold out headline gig really proved that she is the perfect role model for female musicians who are aspiring to be humble yet well established. Hard graft has led to Tori’s music being heard across the country (especially cafe Nero). With such high expectations since her EP launch at Rough Trade, her onlooking fans, friends and family watched the indie folk singer absolutely SMASH it. The fact that an artist only born in 1998 can have such a mature set and sophisticated sound really baffles me. Including some of her early stuff, it was a sight to see the entirety of the audience being at one with Tori as they sang her own lyrics back to her. Mixing the songs’ format up really added a sense of dimension to the gig. With a fully equipped band helping Tori out with the more upbeat numbers, it was somewhat magical to see her strip back the stage and sing other pieces alone – just her and her trusty guitar. Naturally she demonstrated that she knew exactly what she was doing and only wanted to share the moment with those in the room. We were all there and we were all present. It wasn’t a ‘get on and off’ performance. Instead it truly meant something to her and those watching – how are you gonna top this one now Tori? Perhaps an album…
An interview with Tori Sheard by Harvey Brown can be accessed here