Review: Singer Holly Rose Webber triumphs at Frazer Theatre

Holly Rose Webber.
Holly Rose Webber.

Frazer Music Music presents the Holly Rose Webber Band + Rob Reynolds, Frazer Theatre Knaresborough. Review by Graham Chalmers and Mike Atkinson

Thanks to a brilliantly designed Americana-esque backdrop, a tasteful array of minor props and great lighting, the stage in Knaresborough's character-packed Frazer Theatre looks a million dollars.

Which is appropriate. It's there to put the spotlight on the talents of a potentially million dollar singer.

Harrogate's blond siren Holly Rose Webber doesn't play that often; her's is a talent to nature carefully, so this sold out Saturday night show is a special one.

She's always been a wonderful singer but Holly has come on leaps and bounds as a performer since I last saw her in a packed little Blues Bar in Harrogate.

Her voice was amazing back then but her stagecraft is starting to mature, too.

The personal in-between song introductions, the postures and shapes as she sings, her rapport with her backing musicians. . .

This Knaresborough venue comes ready-steeped in classic old skool atmosphere which tends to produce classic old skool performances by whoever is on stage.

But they don't come more classic or old skool than Holly Rose Webber and her wonderful band of Rob Reynolds (acoustic guitar/vocals), Frank Mizen (pedal steel), Phil Dean (electric guitar), Ian Wallace (bass) and (Dan Mizen drums).

The covers tonight are skilfully arranged and fit seemlessly into Holly's no-nonsense, slightly 1970s rock-country feel - Elvis, the Steve Miller Band.

But Holly's self-penned material is just as good, whether the two impressive news songs from her forthcoming second album or gems like Love Ain't Enough from brilliant debut album Sparkle and Fade.

Legendary broadcaster Bob Harris loves Holly's music enough to have booked her for his exciting new roots festival Under the Apple Tree next month - and no wonder.

Tough but tender, straight to the point but with sensitivity and soul, these are big-hearted songs full of melody but no cheese sung by someone who oozes honesty.

There's an impressively steely, tasteful core to Holly, her songs and her band - Janis Joplin if she hadn't been such a mess trying to compete with all those boys shredding their vocal cords.

The only doubts remaining are her over own self-belief. With so few gigs under her belt, she is possibly still not firing fully on all cylinders

But what an exciting thought that is. She'a already a class act but Holly Rose Webber is still not as good as she is going to get.

Wow. When she does realise just how good she is, world watch out!

Earlier in the night at Knaresborough's Frazer Theatre, support was provided by Rob Reynolds who performed an impassioned, emotionally honest solo set, with something of the late John Martyn in his vocal tone.

His original compositions benefited from the stripped-down delivery, holding the capacity audience's full attention throughout.

"I seem to be using my (loop) pedals a lot tonight, I don't know why", he remarked. "Well, they're fashionable, aren't they?", someone yelled from the back of the room.

"They've been around at least 15 years!", someone else muttered.

"She doesn't get out much!" quipped a third punter, pointing to the original yeller. Warm laughter rippled around the room. It was that kind of night at Knaresborough's Frazer Theatre.