While Andy Abrahams was finishing last in Eurovision over in Serbia, Martha Wainwright was giving Brummies a sublime taste of Europe - French to be precise; her performances of Edith Piaf's Adieu Mon Coeur (Goodbye My Heart) and Barbara's Dis Quand Reviendras-Tu? (When Will You Return) two of the highlights of a delightful set.
The audience warmed up and enchanted by the beguiling Tom Baxter and his brother Charlie, Martha took to the stage dressed in blood red knee-high boots, pink dress and grey jacket.
Noticing that, during the set opener parts of her acoustic guitar were reflecting off the lights and dazzling the crowd, she joked: "Are you sure it's not my diamond?" and did that nelywed thing of then proudly showing off her rock. Hubby and bassist Brad Albetta stood at the back,anonymously, until Martha announced she had married "this guy" and he gave a slightly embarrassed wave to the hall.
French songs aside, the set was of course made up from Martha's two albums, the self-titled debut and latest release, I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too. As Martha pointed out, you could buy knickers with that legend printed on them from the merchandise stand. While a little poppier than its predecessor, there are still plenty of heavy subjects here; War (the powerful Tower Song) and her mother's battle with cancer (In The Middle Of The Night) just two of them. Rather than be depressing, however, the young Wainwright simply makes them powerful.
Her voice soaring in the hall, complete with its trademark cracks and pauses, she may have joked about why she'd been booked there, but it was a venue made for her; you couldn't now imagine her returning to the Academy where she last played three years ago.
The biggest cheers of the night came for an acoustic Factory and the brilliant Bloody Mother F****** A**hole, all about her dad, singer Loudon, but aside from a technical glitch early on, there was little that wasn't great. After dazzling with both voice and guitar, Martha even found time to comment on 'this nice town'; canals she had jogged down and the Council House and museum picked out for special mention.
She's welcome back anytime. Martha Wainwright