Station Sessions: Lucy Rose & i said yes, St Pancras International, 31 March 2011

Photo couresy of Station Sessions

Under the grand arches of St Pancras Station, just next to the Eurostar bit, amid bustling swarms of commuters during London’s busy Thursday evening rush hour, is what might loosely be described as a gig.

Curious passers-by and a few fans who’ve turned up specially gather around Lucy Rose, intrigued and enchanted by her beautiful voice, which now fills this cavernous departure lounge.

Lucy and her band sing gentle love songs to a drifting crowd of onlookers who come and go as they please, but whose numbers are steadily increasing.

Strangers from all walks of life whisper to each other, desperate to find out who this girl is, while others simply hold up their camera phones to capture the moment.

It’s a far cry from your usual upstairs-room-of-a-pub gig, but manages to remain much more sophisticated than a standard street performance. There is genuine talent on display here, and it’s found a new audience.

Lucy’s feet dance beneath her chair as she effortlessly breathes her poetic words. She is happy in this unusual environment, laughing that she can’t remember the words to her songs without losing any of her confidence.

By the end of her set, such a crowd has gathered that she is brave enough to ask her new fans to shout during her final song. With no alcohol, and in broad daylight, they yell at every chorus: proof Lucy Rose can charm even London’s most hardened commuters.

After five minutes of conversation with strangers, and the emptying of pockets into the Japan Disaster donations bucket, i said yes are ready to perform.

Their sound is louder than Lucy’s – more risqué in an echoing public space. But it wins them an even bigger reaction.

Perhaps their best track, When The Night Comes In, with its wonderfully warm and simple chorus and somewhat familiar melody gets a massive round of applause. All attempts to play the trumpet quietly are abandoned for this track, and its proud volume attracts the biggest crowd so far.

One song sees singer, guitarist and occasional bassist, Jim Barne, pick up a beautiful red accordion. Everyone, from the office workers to the photographers, is captivated by it – it’s not every day you get to hear live accordion in the middle of a train station.

i said yes’ catchy, upbeat folk has got a toddler dancing along with his dad, teenage girls swaying and elderly travellers stopping to stare.

The finale is, beyond unexpectedly, a cover of Late Of The Pier’s Focker: a track that couldn’t be much further from their own sound.

It would usually start with heavy synth chords, but i said yes open it with a delicate xylophone. Amazingly, it sounds great. Gradually more instruments are brought in and their voices are raised until it ends almost as loudly as the original.

The whole of St Pancras seems blown away. It seems, if you want to reach a new fanbase, a train station is the place to play.


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