When it comes to civic rivalries Bristol vs Bath doesn’t really even register on the Richter scale.
This isn’t the historically fraught hostility of a Manchester and Liverpool. If anything our two fair cities share more of a mutual admiration than a simmering tension over bragging rights.
So it is when either city has something to cheer about the other is happy, rather than green with jealously, for its South Western sibling.
Such is the case with Bath starlet Laura Doggett.
Rising through the ranks of hotly tipped musicians faster than you can add a # and buzzword to her name, Doggett has come a long way in the last year.
The 21 year old from Bath (by way of Salisbury) has supported the likes of John Newman and Years & Years, received extensive support from BBC Radio (Annie Mac previewed her latest single ‘Into the Glass’ just this week) but is perhaps best known for the use of her haunting track ‘Old Faces’ on a commercial for the TV series Broadchurch.
Like Florence Welch in slow motion, Doggett has an adroitly serene and equally unique voice that recalls a lighter Zola Jesus in its tone and is simply sumptuous to the ear. Tonight she is in great form, despite her deprecating comments to the contrary.
In such an intimate venue as the Bristol Birdcage it would be expected to see a stripped back version of her sound on the fashion floor but tonight we are treated to all the bells and whistles of a larger show.
Cello, bass, two keys, drums and guitar are all on show and help provide a fuller sound than you often see in these surrounds.
Dressed like a Byzantium princess Doggett appears on stage with the air of some spectral bride and starts off with former single ‘Phoenix’. From the off the crowd are immediately enraptured by the exotic creature before them.
“This is my first sold out show outside of London, on my first headline tour” she confesses shortly after its conclusion. It’s a startling revelation for an artist who boasts such national recognition, but it also explains her sometimes-timorous stage presence. Doggett will probably never be a raconteur on stage but what she lacks in more traditional showmanship she more than makes up for in talent and sheer passion.
She certainly seems most at home when she is entranced within her melodies and is then free to truly soar to the heights of Kate Bush at her most elegant best.
Songs like ‘Lizard Lady’, ‘Moonshine’ and ‘Old Faces’ are beautifully British tracks that exhibit all the elegance, sophistication and uniquely understated brilliance that truly differentiates us from our American cousins.
Tonight is also a celebration of her journey so far and she is visibly overwhelmed at times to be back “home”. “Its so amazing to see so many familiar faces and old school friends” she states searching the crowd for all those she holds dear before closing the set.
Bath you have a star, treasure her.
To catch Laura Doggett in person yourself or just to find out more click here
By Kevin McGough
Photos by Stefania Formica