Carina Round | She Makes War
August 6th 2016
Birmingham born alternative singer/songwriter Carina Round, returns to the motherland from her adopted LA residence to promote her new album Deranged To Divine. Manchester is one of the stops on the solo UK tour and Louder Than War went to check out this intimate gig and report back in words (Vanessa Lourenco) and photos (Melanie Smith).
If you follow the show “Fresh Meat”, you’ve had the pleasure to listen to the melodic voice of Carina Round. Her hit “Backseat” still lingers in our ears since 2009. She is what you would call a complete artist, a singer/songwriter and she also plays a mean guitar. She has been part of two bands – Puscifer, with the likes of Maynard James Keenan from Tool, and Early Winters, an alternative-country band.
She Makes War (pic right) is the opening act for Carina. Bristol based Laura Kidd is the performer behind this musical/visual act. She is a multi-skilled stage animal, with the ability to capture the audience with the use of unique sound techniques. She jumps from guitar to ukulele, then uses her voice in a loop machine and a megaphone, sometimes a combination, and this takes skill. She is not frightened to take on the challenge of performing with a broken foot, in terms of devotion, she is right up there with Dave Grohl and his broken leg. Charming and feisty all at the same time, she converses with the audience about her previous boyfriend troubles, but at least she got a song out of it. She has been captivating her fans with her DIY style since 2010, when she released her first album Disarm. Check her out, you´ll be impressed with her melancholy, grungy pop skills, which perfectly compliment her act.
Now it is time for Carina Round, the stage is set and it all goes pitch black. There are a few neon lights in the venue, but unless you are right in front of the stage (like me) you can only see darkness.
There are two tiny spotlights at the foot of the mic and you can just make out a crouching Carina fiddling with samplers, making interesting sounds, almost theremin like. A projector is positioned at the edge of the stage, projecting colourfully lit shapes onto a round canvas right behind Carina. When she stands projecting her breathtaking voice, her act becomes a beautiful symbiosis of audio and visual art, having the ethereal video navigating her pale delicate face.
After a couple of songs, she engages with the audience, in a funny, shy way. The venue is small, but packed out with delighted fans and she engages well with them. From questions like “what happened to your accent?” to which she replies “which one?” since she now adopts an American accent (unlike her hometown Birmingham British accent), to pointing a small light at one of the fans who is overexcited to see her to check him out, her interaction with the public is well measured and the jokes are taken with a pinch of salt on both sides.
The show reaches a beautiful moment where she is at one with the audience and has them join her whilst singing “Backseat”, with an “acapela” feel to it and a warm smile, the lips muttering the melodic lyrics “it should be forever, God told me, we were born into the wrong time” repeatedly, finishing with “wow, that was amazing”.
Carina reminds you why female solo artists are so full of mysticism and charisma. She transports you to a kind of 90s Tori Amos, perfectly in tune voice, from high pitch to lower guttural tone, carrying passionate emotions within each note, each word, each breath. Her gig is ethereal and timeless, like a soul. And that´s when you feel like you have just witnessed something amazing, when you´re able to see a glimpse of an artists soul and Carina is definitely soulful.
Interesting enough, Tori is one of Maynard´s best friends, being the godfather to her only daughter. Carina is also part of Tool’s lead singer circle of friends which makes you wonder if musicians are all part of this highly talented family and I think secretly, all of us want to believe in it.
The Setlist went something like this: The Secret of Drowning/ Pick Up The Phone/ Set Fire/ Do You/ Lacuna/ Mother’s Pride/ Let It Fall/ Backseat/ You and Me/ I Want To Break Your Heart/ Girl and the Ghost/ You Will Be Loved/ Monument/ Elegy/ Into My Blood/ Message to Apollo / Weird Dream (mash-up)/ For everything a reason
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