Culture

Review: Lisa Ronson – Fruit Wednesday, January 25

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KCOM knowledgebase analyst Beca Harries swung by Fruit this week to watch Lisa Ronson, daughter of much-celebrated Spiders from Mars guitarist Mick Ronson, who showcased her new single.

Visiting the toilets at Fruit can take an unusually long time; mainly so because you can’t help but gaze intently at the walls, which are covered by gig posters of the most celebrated acts that have played at the venue.

After tonight’s performance, it’s safe to say Lisa Ronson’s artwork deserves a few inches of restroom wall space.

The waiting audience is predominantly middle-aged; many of them clearly fans of Lisa’s father Mick, David Bowie’s much-loved guitarist who, as we all know, hailed from our fine city.

And while they are curious to see what Mick’s accountant daughter has to offer the musical world, they soon realise that Ronson Jnr has her own voice, and what a voice it is!

Her vocal range is impressively low, and draws similarities to Tracy Chapman, Annie Lennox, and Alison Goldfrapp.

Ronson is clearly close to her six-piece band who, like her, are dressed head to toe in black. She looks to them for affirmation throughout the show. Their stage dynamic is that of a comfortable group, with a particular closeness between herself and keyboardist Morgan Fisher.

Now in his late 60s, Fisher has flown to the UK from Japan, where he’s lived for more than 30 years, to tour with Ronson. Towards the end of the gig he gives a heartfelt eulogy about Pete ‘Overend’ Watts who he worked with across the years, and who very recently passed away.

Ronson opens the gig with a gentle song, easing the audience into her set. Harking back to the golden age of electronica, her next song is Oblivion – a much more heavily synthesised tune. Haunting vocals, almost spiritual chanting at points, makes this a very diverse number.

Her presence increases as she bops around on stage to her third song – One Lunar Month. A few covers are then worked into the set list – some classic 80s anthems from Prince, Madonna and Bowie to whip the crowd into a frenzy.

Her next song, Get To You, is heavier than her other offerings of the evening and include guitar solos which Guns N’ Roses axeman Slash would be proud of. In fact, the top hat-wearing rocker wouldn’t look out of place alongside Ronson and friends, given their affinity for wearing black.

Ronson then pays tribute to a few popular songs from the past by working them into her own originals. Pale Blue Eyes perfectly incorporates the chorus from Ben E King’s Stand By Me, while she closes the show with her most recent release, Tales of the City - the opening of which is strikingly similar to Rainbow’s Since You Been Gone.

With an incredibly varied musical catalogue, Ronson is worth watching if you like 80s music with a modern twist.

Not for the easily offended, some of her lyrics explore dark but poignant themes – without being excessive or gratuitous.

Her songs are frank and straightforward, and with Ronson’s exceptional vocals, she’s an artist not to be missed if you want to watch a real, honest performance. 

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