I got along to see SOAK at the Caves on Monday night this week.
The acoustics and unique atmosphere of the place mean that I rarely pass up the chance to go and see an act perform there — and I made sure not to miss out on the Mercury-nominated Northern Irish teenager on what will surely be a rare visit to Edinburgh.
I briefly caught her set at Festival No.6 in September, but I was half-cut and half-starving at the time, paying more attention to my dinner than to her lyrics. It was a good opportunity to pay her the attention she deserves.
Support act Half Earth, offering silky falsetto vocals and sandpaper-edged guitar, were a real find. Although they were doomed, as all support bands must be, to sing over the din of latecomers and barhogs’ background chat, their Wild Beasts/Bon Iver hybrid act managed to gain a real foothold with the audience.
SOAK herself is incredibly to watch, from the subtle surety with which she plays lead single ‘Being Nobody’ to the deft antipop of ‘Sea Creatures’. An encore cover of Bonnie Rait’s ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ (though it owed far more to Justin Vernon’s sparse piano-led version) stood out as a particularly special moment in an intimate show.