Live review: Laura Veirs, Hall Two, The Sage Gateshead

LAURA VEIRS ... slightly surreal, minimalist but always melodic songs of love.

LAURA VEIRS ... slightly surreal, minimalist but always melodic songs of love.

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BESPECTACLED American singer-songwriter Laura Veirs transfixed an enthusiastic audience with her folk and country-tinged ditties.

Since her eponymous debut in 1999, Veirs has developed a cult following in the UK with her slightly surreal, minimalist but always melodic songs of love.

Live, she isn’t half as stern as her album covers and publicity shots would suggest, and there was plenty of knock-about banter with her excellent supporting players, electric guitarist Tim Young and violinist Alex Guy.

The 38-year-old’s music has a tremendously unforced quality, evident on songs from her 2010 album July Flame.

Make Something Good and Wide-eyed, Legless (no relation to the Andy Fairweather Low classic) are akin to parables in song.

She also included songs from her latest album, Tumble Bee, a collection of traditional children’s songs. A particular highlight was a rollicking version of The Fox.

Earlier in the day she’d played a parents and kiddies show, after which a Geordie woman approached to express her appreciation. “I could tell by her face movements she was a lovely lady – but I couldn’t understand a word!”, Veirs said.

We ended with an audience singalong and a soap bubble storm from an onstage machine – a suitably offbeat end to a lovely, quirky evening.