It must come as a great validation to the artist who quietly toils, recording and releasing their own material year after year, happy that they’re able to find an outlet and an audience, to finally gain critical recognition outside their home country and play to people who are discovering their music for the first time.
Haley Bonar would know all about this. In a career that has spanned 15 years and 6 albums, it was her most recent release, 2014’s Last War, that pushed her into the international spotlight. The follow-up, Impossible Dream doubled-down on War’s refined songcraft and country/dream-pop delivery, unveiling a fresh set of songs heavy with tales of small-town life and world-weary restlessness.
It’s not every day you perform on a stage decked with gold ceilings and tinsel that felt part high school dance, part Twin Peaks lodge, but it was something that clearly worked to Haley and her 4-piece band’s advantage in a set that drew equally from both albums, adding a somber glow to Dream‘s yearning “Hometown” and an extra layer of intensity to Last War‘s brooding title track.
It was a spell that held its sway right through til the end, coming in the form of a faithful rendition of The Crystals “Then He Kissed Me”, Haley reaching back to a simpler time when unabashed love songs made the world go round. It still does, but you get the feeling Haley knows that and a whole lot more too.
Setlist: Hometown / Your Mom Is Right / I Can Change / Stupid Face / Better Than Me / Jealous Girls / From A Cage / Leo / Skynz / No Sensitive Man / Heaven’s Made For Two / Last War / Kismet Kill // Kill The Fun / Blue Diamonds Fall / Then He Kissed Me