When you get the impression that you’ve been suddenly plunged inside a David Lynch film, it’s always good. The performing space at Coach & Horses, arrayed with red hanging drapes and similarly ensanguined dim lights, provided the perfect setting for Gemma Ray’s enthralling gig. Her blend of indie/alternative rock filled the space with ethereal sounds that lured you into Ms Ray’s world, a world that is at once powerful and mellow, fragile and harsh, inviting yet obscure.
In fact, this incongruity was among the most striking aspects of the gig. Pretty Ms Ray, attired in vintage 1950s looks, thought nothing of sporting a 10″ kitchen knife and using it as a slide, creating strident sounds and effects to accompany some of her smoothest numbers. The weapon was then sheathed back inside the guitar’s bridge, still very visible, a reminder of the dark authenticity lurking just beneath the sleek veneer.
Ms Ray’s voice possessed the same qualities: one moment it was soft, almost breezy; the next it was flooding the space with a deluge of decibels. (Which thankfully wiped out the annoying blabber that the annoying people at the back, next to the bar, were indulging in.)
I loved this gig and I’m really glad that I got the opportunity to be there. However, one thing kept nagging me afterwards: how come she’s not filling stadiums yet?
Gemma Ray’s gig was a Hairyamp Promotions event.