Published on Folk Radio UK, 22nd September 2022
I was fortunate to have been invited to see an exclusive performance by Rozi Plain, to celebrate the announcement of her forthcoming album Prize, which is due to be released on the 13th January 2023. It will be her second album to be released under Memphis Industries, following What a Boost in 2019.
The show was held in the Blue Basement, hidden below Soho’s Third Man Records store, a place that had been on my go-to list for a long time. En route, I spotted a building painted in a brilliant yellow and knew at once that I had arrived. Once inside, I was greeted by a warm room with bright red ceramic ceiling tiles, filled with records. Down a narrow staircase, we filed into a small, dimly lit basement, packed wall to wall with eager fans. There was a feeling of excitement in the air as the group descended from the bustling public Soho streets into what felt like an incredibly exclusive performance. With just 50 tickets available, only her most dedicated following was present, and the air was thick with anticipatory excitement.
Illuminated in a mysterious blue light, Plain and four other musicians were tucked onto a small stage at the front. They sat at direct eye level with the audience, increasing the sense of intimacy. Plain played her own handmade guitar, which she built herself when she was a teenager. Together, she and the band played a set of ten songs (some new, some old), including her two latest singles Agreeing for Two (2022) and Silent Fan (2021). When it came to yet unreleased songs, the crowd listened intently, absorbing as much as they could, knowing that it may be four months before they would get a chance to hear it again. When some familiar favourites from What a Boost were played, such as Swing Shut, heads nodded, bodies grooved, and eye contact was exchanged with an excitable recognition.
For those who are unfamiliar with Rozi Plain’s music, her style is deeply individual. Characterised by repeated rhythmic riffs which create a hypnotic ambience, and soft, nonchalant vocals with curious and often repeated lyrics, she has developed a discernible and unique style. Moments of tension are created through texture, the introduction of more instruments building into a body of delicately weaving melodies.
Her stage presence was humble, composed and incredibly charming. She took moments in between songs to entertain the crowd with anecdotes, explaining how the choice to release on Friday the 13th was, in fact, very lucky in her family. “This is the day that my sister passed her tractor driving test, and the day my parents met. And yes, that was in order of significance.”
This intimate performance left me feeling that I had been witness to something very special indeed