Beth Orton at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Beth Orton
Beth Orton
Viva Port Solent!

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A few weeks ago, Beth Orton’s brother Rupert played here as part of rock’n’roll evangelists The Jim Jones Revue.

It’s safe to say the atmosphere here tonight is a touch more sedate.

Transformed into an all-seated venue for the night, the sold-out gig is a relaxed affair.

And it’s even more relaxed now that Orton has dropped the electronic touches from her sound that characterised the early part of her career.

It is - bar one track at the keyboard, and one with her colleague on violin - folky, acoustic guitars all the way.

Drawing heavily on new album Sugaring Season, her fifth, her voice manages to be simultaneously a thing of power and fragility – it cracks more than once as she strains for some of the higher notes. But instead of marring the performance, it makes her all the more endearing.

And she seems to grow in confidence as the gig progresses. None of it is going to scare the horses, and on a cold winter’s night, it hits the sweet spot.