Thursday, September 28

Lady Blackbird – Festival Theatre – Edinburgh International Festival

Ending her three week long debut album Black Acid Soul tour, LA-based Lady Blackbird, AKA Marley Munroe, brought it home in fine style at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre tonight cheered on by a packed crowd of adoring fans. On what was her first visit to the Capital, and hopeful not her last, it was clearly an emotional moment for the artist and her band as the evening came to a climactic end with tears and a group hug on stage. And why not, it has been a long time coming, as she reached out her hand to the crowd she explained, ‘I’m closing one of the most incredible chapters in my life’.

The set list is made up of many of the tracks from Black Acid Soul, released in 2021. The concert features jazz covers such as Blackbird, which Monroe took as her stage name, and also some folk covers alongside her own haunting originals. They are complex, accompanied by jazzy bass and piano and not always with a clear sense of where they are going, drifting off into ominous, percussive rabbit holes with off-dream drum and piano solos.  Towards the end of a memorable evening, she sings the powerful Woman, an almost mainstream vibe, with its slow heavy beats and more traditional structure, which was clearly a crowd favourite.

Wrapping up the show Munro explains that if it had not been for her mother’s belief in her, in turning a bedroom into a music studio and pushing her onwards, she might never have become the musician she is today. Reminiscing on her earlier influences she talks about Gladys Knight, Tina Turner and Billie Holliday. She spent hours in her very own little studio perfecting the songs of Gladys Knight and takes us on a trip with her emotional rendition of Neither of us (wants to be the first to say goodbye).

A unique mash-up of intimate jazz mixed with a rock star theatricality, delivered by an incredible vocal, I cannot think of a better place than Edinburgh in August to sign off in fine style.

Reviewer: Greg Holstead

Reviewed: 12th August 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.