Fenne Lily emanated subtle confidence and acerbic wit during her intimate gig at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds.
Fenne Lily’s style of music may hint at an artist that is quiet, modest and timid, but this could not be further from the case. Live, she exudes a sense of subtle confidence and acerbic wit that does not seem to permeate her artistic work. Whether this is an on-stage defence mechanism or a true representation of her character doesn’t seem to matter. What does matter however, is the set of ten songs from her debut album On Hold and the two surprise tracks performed at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds last Thursday; an intimate affair, with a maximum of 50 people. The limited crowd felt almost jam-packed in the limited surroundings of Brudenell’s Room 2.
Her understated self-assurance can be seen clearly in her audience participation, both as a member of the audience and on stage. As support act Alter Hanglands played the opening set, Fenne could be seen in the crowd and joked with him about giving him a record in return for his amazing selection of songs. On stage, Fenne’s sense of joviality was not lost; between almost every song she provided some sort of back story, describing either the writing process or a related funny story. This provided an odd contrast between the somewhat emotionally draining collection of songs. Notable bits of information from Fenne can be seen in the fact ‘Three Oh Nine’ is actually the date her ex “dickhead” boyfriend broke up with her and that ‘More Than You Know’ is about an errrr… interesting request from a boy on a bus. Before the inevitable encore she joked about the fact that we would see her again, and unsurprisingly we did; here she performed 20 million stream-reaching song ‘Top to Toe’, a cover of Angel Olsen’s ‘Unfucktheworld’ and an unreleased track in the form of ‘That Man Over Their’. For ‘That Man…’ she requested nobody filmed or recorded the performance, so all I can say is that it hints at a change of style for Fenne Lily.
Melancholic, gloomy and wistful are all adjectives that can be used to describe her musical output, but not the individual behind the music. This is apparent from not only her stage-presence for this particular performance but her activities on social media also. Her poignant sense of confidence may have its roots in her wildly successful debut track ‘Top to Toe’; not many artists can boast that level of streaming response from their first release. However, this is not to say it’s not a deserved sense of confidence even if her music sounds so… vulnerable. Perhaps her unreleased finale song in the form of ‘That Man…’ implies a future that is more reflective of this confidence. Either way, I’m sure whatever the future holds for Fenne it will only bring more success.