By Jamie McDonald
Those gig goers who managed to avoid a self-induced chocolate coma this Easter instead enjoyed an eclectic evening at La Belle Angele on Sunday with the return of Scottish songstress Hannah Jarrett-Scott to the capital. The evening was a huge success with a packed venue, an array of exciting acts and a captivating vibe all marrying together to secure the perfect homecoming.
After Hannah relocated to London to train as an actor at drama school, she found she had a penchant for busking and would spend hours in the capital’s underpasses singing her heart out. It was at a gig in a cinema café where Hannah worked that everything changed however. There she met co-worker, guitarist and collaborator, Marco Cocco and the two have been a musical pairing since. Now Jarrett-Scott has returned to her hometown with her brand new EP, Pictures as a worthy gift from her travels.
La Belle Angele felt more like a cabaret hall than a dingy Cowgate venue on Sunday. Comedian Megan Shandley gave great spark between acts and really lifted the whole occasion. Given the very reasonable ticket price, punters got something of a treat with a plethora of talented acts making up the bill. Support came from Daniel Duke, Jon Mackenzie, Laura Riganti and Gus Harrower.
When Hannah at last takes to the stage, the crowd erupts – this is already an emotional homecoming. Right from the off, there’s a real salt of the earth vibe about these songs. Tracks like Fun, where the final crescendo is a simple repetition of the line, “I want to have fun”, are the perfect example of Hannah’s ability to write from the heart. She’s never afraid to be simplistic with her thoughts and messages when committing to ink but it’s her delivery that seals it.
The band, made up of Jon Mackenzie on bass, Gus Harrower on keyboard, Marco Cocco on guitar and James Grant, who is also the producer of the EP, on drums, gave a real groove to proceedings with echoes of Amy Winehouse and her backing band prevalent throughout.
The set is broken up nicely with a duet from Hannah and Laura Riganti of Bob Marley’s Don’t Worry ‘bout a Thing accompanied by the crowd in full voice. The perfect ode to Hannah’s happy-go-lucky outlook.
In terms of style and genre, Hannah ranges from soul, reggae, ska, pop and everything in between. Just when you are beginning to understand her music, the beautiful Those Days shows yet another side to her writing as she commands the room with a wistful melancholy not present on other songs.
As the set comes to close, the band dive into the title track of the EP, Pictures. The room silent, Hannah crunches her eyes tight shut, the band fall away and she delivers the final verse with a deserved accomplishment. A successful homecoming indeed.