Kristin Hersh: London Camden Underworld

Kristin performs material from new album 'Sunny Border Blue'...

Hersh has the ‘flu, is accompanied by only an acoustic guitar and plays for two long hours. Her ‘flu doesn’t appear to impair her performance, but showing up with just an acoustic guitar is something of a handicap. She’s recently recorded her strongest solo album yet, ‘Sunny Border Blue’, and the muscular strength of tracks such as ‘Your Dirty Answer’ and ‘Spain’ come across in an emaciated form.

Despite playing songs from her Throwing Muses days through her solo albums, the gig is distinctly one-paced, seemingly ignoring the different aspects her songwriting has brought over the years. None of these complaints are felt by the sell-out crowd, however, for whom Hersh is something of a poet-cum-goddess. Her between-song anecdotes, while warm and wry, are perhaps given an excess of respect even after they start to grate.

This show, though, is only for the partisan and NME.COM will admit to not being in thrall of the woman. It’s Hersh’s first London gig for two years and her appearance is the subject of worship. It’s essentially a fan club gig and although it’s obviously adored, it would have been all the stronger if she could have afforded to bring a full band with her. The new album suggests that Hersh could expand her fan base, but gigs like this will only keep her existing fans happy.

Ben Clancy