Thursday 20 June 2024

Charm Of Finches / Mia Kelly - Salford The Kings Arms - 19th June 2024

Australian sister duo Charm Of Finches returned to Salford for their third headline show in the Greater Manchester area in a couple of years as part of their extensive UK tour to promote their fourth album Marlinchen In The Snow. They delighted a sold out crowd in the intimate surroundings of The Kings Arms’ upstairs theatre supported by Quebec singer-songwriter Mia Kelly.

It’s Mia’s first visit to the UK but she’s a well-travelled woman as evidenced through her songs and the stories around them. She tells of the ex British Navy sailor she met in Nicaragua who inspired recent single Bonefish Boys and the reception Dépaysée, from her 2019 debut EP, got when she was selected to represent Canada at the Francophonie Games in Kinshasha in the DR  Congo. The song doesn’t understandably have the audience singing along in Salford given the language difference but final song Vagabond, about a stranger she met one day on a bus, went cliff jumping with and never saw again, has willing audience participation. Her rich evocative voice brings the songs to life, including her most recent single Meaning Well, a song about heartbreak from her forthcoming album and Kitchissippi, a song about discovering the beauty of nature during the long periods of isolation during Covid lockdowns. She leaves after thirty-five minutes having made new friends and fans.

Last time Charm Of Finches were in town just round the corner at Sacred Trinity Church they were about to head to Nova Scotia to record what would become Marlinchen In The Snow and previewed some of the songs that were destined for the record. Tonight they return and perform the majority of the record, their strongest to date and tell tales of life on the road as well as the inspiration for many of the songs to a perfectly attentive audience whose only noise other than the squeak of the world’s most uncomfortable chairs was rapturous applause at the end of each song and a vocal majority for Joni Mitchell’s River over Leonard Cohen when we’re given a choice on a mid-set cover.

The magic in Charm Of Finches live is in the vocal interactions between sisters Mabel, who plays acoustic guitar, and Ivy, who plays keyboards. They harmonise, they interchange leads as the song requires, but the combination they choose always captures the essence of the song - whether it be the new songs like Temporary Home, Clean Cut, Atlantis, Leave It All Behind and Middle Of Your Mess that form the first half of the set or Gravity, Canyon, Pocket Of Stones from their previous album Wonderful Oblivion and its title track that forms the solitary song of their well-deserved encore.

They’re not just musicians though, their songs tell stories and there’s a sibling connection between them that’s warm and heartfelt and while they tease that being on the road together strains that relationship it’s clear that it’s just in jest. Marlinchen In The Snow’s beautiful title track is based around the Grimm Bros tale The Juniper Tree and many of the other songs come from their own personal experiences of life, love and encounters along their journey. Their positivity, despite the darkness in some of the lyrics, radiates and charms the room throughout. 

Charm Of Finches' website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter

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

Their tour continues at London Lexington (June 20), Newbury Ace Space (21), Corsham Pound Art Centre (22), Brighton Folklore Rooms (23), Cardiff Acapela Studio (25) and Oxford Wesley Memorial Methodist Church (27).

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