By: Steve Fallows

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Support: She Makes War | website

Fac251, Manchester | August 6, 2016

After seeing Carina Round perform as part of Puscifer’s debut European show in Manchester earlier this year, I was hugely interested in seeing her perform as a solo artist, and luckily I didn’t have to wait too long as she set out on a short UK run in support of her recently released compilation rounding up her solo work so far.

Due to a bit of trouble getting to the venue and parking, by the time I got to the venue, the opening act She Makes War was well into her set. A decent crowd had gathered and despite the intense heat of the venue (something which has plagued every show I seem to have been to this summer), they were engaged in the show and it was relaxed and friendly atmosphere. What I did see was very striking set of songs from an exceptionally talented singer and musician. A wide range of material, from slow melancholic numbers through to some edgier, distorted guitar driven noise of some of the later tracks.

Carina Round

Carina Round

Carina took to the stage and immediately set upon a compelling set, lit by only the minimum lighting in the venue and a projector shining some kind of vector image onto her and the background behind her. She dipped below the light for the opening song and set off a series of vocal loops creating a mesmerising track of four of five different layers of vocals. She quickly noticed that a large section of the crowd maybe only knew her from the Puscifer show (I was guilty of that too). “That’s why you all look so confused”, she said. “Well, this is the real me”. Throughout the show she consistently engaged with the crowd, and dealt with some quite random outbursts from the crowd like a seasoned comedian deals with hecklers. It must be quite nerve wracking playing solo anyway, but then to add a crowd that don’t really know your work, but that of a band you have played with must make it very strange, but she handled it spectacularly. After building up a great relationship with the crowd, she asked for help with a couple of songs, going so far as to teach the audience the bits she wanted them to sing, and they did it, the all joined in. Musically and lyrically, this engrossing show took everyone’s mind off the uncomfortable heat in the room (no air con during the show, as it was louder than either of the performers).

The highlight was ‘Backseat’ which had been featured on a TV show. Not because it was a song that was probably her most well known track, but the way the audience sang along and then Carina sang the final part above the voices created an extraordinary sound that filled the small venue. A brilliant night, with two very special talents.

Carina Round

Carina Round

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