Slowly but surely, week by week, gig by gig, the female solo artist is taking control of 2010. From Lady Gaga to Florence Welch, from Cheryl Cole (or is it Tweedy now?) to Marina and her diamonds this year has seen the biggest dominance from female solo artists in living memory.
However, as well as the ‘bigger’ names have done, where does this leave a young, talented, passionate lady trying to break through in to a market that is busier than Fabio Capello’s local post office. It seems that if any young lady did want to break through not only must they possess the voice, the lyrics, the look, the confidence, the luck and the exposure but the key ingredient; Uniqueness.
This is where the problem arises; uniqueness is not something that should be strived for, if you set out to be unique, like a lot of modern artists, you will eventually find yourself falling flat on your face. Uniqueness is something natural, something that a lot of the time can be very subtle. Subtleness can often be the key, and Laura Hocking possesses this exact key.
Walking on stage wearing a smart yellow dress and guitar, the young singer was about to take the Kingston crowd on a short, beautiful, powerful and energetic insight into what could be the most important breakthrough of any female artist. Obvious comparisons will be made with Laura Marling and that is understandable as they posses brilliant voices and they are both females, but that’s where the understanding stops. It comes back to the word ‘unique’, when Laura Marling broke through it was unique and her success has been because of this, and now we have Laura Hocking who, very subtly, is a completely different artist, and brilliantly unique.
Her voice is as good as they come and is showed off brilliantly in the powerful ‘Loves of a Girl Wrestler’ which on the surface feels like a cosy playful song that puts a smile on every young girls face, but when you listen to the quite stunning, brutal and deep lyrical talent of Laura Hocking you begin to see what this lady is all about. You get a real sense of the vocal prowess and lyrical ability of the likes of Emmy The Great as well as some of the sound and power of Peggy Sue.
The best example of Laura’s powerful and even dark lyrical ability comes with the song ‘Lola B (Pictures of You)’. It’s a beautifully dark, epic song that displays a lyrical maturity way beyond Laura’s age and shows off her voice that could grace venue’s in a different league to the one she leaves breathless tonight. Lyrics such as; “The women you keep (those hussies and whores!), end up on my cutting room floor, and you love it you love it I know that you love it you only say no to be cruel, mercy’s the duty of beautiful boys so be good to my celluloid spool” are delivered by such a soft and beautiful voice whilst in such a passionate and often dark manor. The song can be looked at in a few ways but it seems to explore the modern celebrity paparazzi world we live in and taking a very negative look at the situation.
Laura goes on to deliver one of the most powerful and unforgettable sets this venue would have ever seen, for all the right reasons. If you give this girl a chance, and take in the sound, the lyrics and the emotion behind it all it’s an experience unlike any other at a gig. Highlight of the set is the fantastic ‘Strongmen and Acrobats’ which shows off the softer and slower side to both her music and her voice. The lyrics are as meaningful and expressive as what has gone before and as the set draws to a close the whole of the audience have moved right to the front and give this quite simply brilliant artist the send off she deserves.
2010 has been the year for the girls, and on this evidence, 2011 is going to be the year for one girl; Laura Hocking.
By Harry Moore