Saturday 20 May 2023

SBT (Sarabeth Tucek) - Salford Eagle Inn - 18th May 2023

SBT (Sarabeth Tucek) made her very long-awaited return to the UK for live shows at the Eagle Inn in Salford on Thursday night. On the eve of the release of her third album, Joan Of All, she played the album in full before finishing with her 2006 single Something For You which first brought her to the wider attention over here.

It's been twelve years since we last saw Sarabeth Tucek on these shores, the last time we saw her an intense spiritual experience at the resplendent Union Chapel in London when she was still performing under her full name rather than the new shortened SBT monicker that has been utilised on her album. Tonight we're in more modest surroundings of the Eagle Inn in Salford where the audience listen in complete silence while she and her band perform the album in full and in order. It's a tough ask for an audience, but the music coming from the stage holds the attention through its intensity and the revelatory content of these songs that came to her during the pandemic when it looked like her inspiration to write and release new music had faded.

With Rhii on drums, Fitz on bass, Ryan on keys and guitars and with the album's producer Luther Russell on lead guitar, SBT has collected a group of musicians around her who bring the album to life, exposing its more delicate and fragile moments (Swings and Sheep) while showing more experimental expansive tendencies on the album's lead single 13 St #1 and the duo of The Tunnel and Unmade / The Dog towards the end of the set (and album). She hints at a stressful time learning to play the record together over a few days ahead of the tour, but with Luther's intimate knowledge of these songs and the careful attention to detail that Rhii, Fitz and Ryan pay to them means that we wouldn't have known had she not revealed this to us.

The intimacy of the Eagle Inn is the perfect setting for these songs although they deserve a wider audience. A first listen of a new record, particularly after the previous work being a long time in the past, is never easy, but playing the album in order makes it feel like a journey we are going on together, them playing it for the first time together and us hearing the majority of these songs for the first time. SBT doesn't say much throughout, other than when there's some minor technical difficulties, but you sense that these songs weren't made to be talked about other than to tell others to listen to it.

SBT played Joan Says/Amber Shade, The Living Rool, Cathy Says, The Gift, The Box, Work, Make Up Your Mind, 13th St. #1, Swings, Happiness, Something/Anything, Sheep, The Tunnel, Unmade/The Dog, Creature Of The Night and Something For You.

Joan Of All is out now and SBT is touring the album at Newcastle Cluny (May 22), Glasgow Hug And Pint (23), Kendal Brewery Arts Centre (24), Sheffield Greystones (25), Isle Of Wight Newport Quay Arts (26), Truro Old Bakery Studio (27), Marlborough St Peter's Church (28), Nottingham Rough Trade (30), Bristol Rough Trade (31), London Rough Trade East (June 1), Ramsgate Music Hall (2), Corsham The Pound (3) and Birmingham Hare And Hounds (4).

SBT's website can be found here and she is on Facebook and Twitter.


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