Like many a singer songwriter before her, Aldous Harding was discovered while busking on the street. However, even in the world of eccentric folk singers, Aldous remains an oddity.
A musician with a stage presence that is almost theatrical in its intensity, and who sings with a piercing glance and a furrowed brow, but says almost nothing to the audience between songs makes her show more like that of a particularly mesmerising performance poet. There is the same hushed reverence, the intake of breath and the almost spiritual feeling when you know that words and music will allow you to be taken somewhere outside of yourself.
Harding’s voice is a very hard thing to describe; often simultaneously powerful and fragile, beautiful and jarring, yet carrying so well in the dark spaces of The Art School, that it often felt as if she was stood right next to you, singing right into your ear. During a particularly clever performance of her arguably most well known song, Imagining My Man, Harding utilises that striking voice, as well as having H.Hawkline on keyboard and a backing track, to create a captivating experience that was at once melancholic and hopeful and also rather unsettling in its intimacy.
Her set was mostly songs from her second album, Party, and the audience stayed almost silent for the entire thing, apart from enthusiastically encouraging her to return from a short break to perform a heartbreaking and affecting version of Horizon, which left the room both utterly still but also thankful that there is still space in our increasingly homogenous world for such a strange, beautiful and talented artist. A shout out to H.Hawkline is definitely called for, who not only accompanied Harding, but performed a short, and very enjoyable, set of his own. Here’s hoping they return to Glasgow in the near future as every once and a while we all need to experience something we can’t necessarily define, and which reminds us that oddity can also be ear achingly beautiful.
For more on Aldous Harding click here.