Emily Fairlight – Music Video Release at Bats Theatre

Wellingtonian folk artist Emily Fairlight screened the music video to her gorgeous new single The Escape last night in Wellington’s picturesque Bats Theatre, treating the small audience to an intimate set afterwards.

Emily Fairlight – Bats Theatre, Wellington. February 22nd, 2018

A small crowd filled about two thirds of the seats in the small theatre, where, after the lights were dimmed, a projector played the music video to an audience for the first time without announcement, one night before its’ public release.

The video, written by Fairlight herself and directed by cantabrian videographer Julian Vares, depicts a young couple falling in love in a summery kiwiana haze, ending with a scene of the couple as working adults with a child years later. The result can be interpreted either as lovably awkward or, simply, awkward. It’s wonderfully shot and packed with quirky small-town kiwiana imagery, but the acting falls a little short with too many forced lingering “in love” facials (Fairlight told the audience later in the evening that she was “terrified” throughout the filming process of this, her first music video, and you can believe it.)

However the song itself is a beautiful piece of violin-drenched folk-rock, with a haunting but homely vocal melody and delivery uncannily reminiscent of Natalie Merchant’s motherly warble. The video is visually and thematically fitting, but ultimately adds little to the already worthy song which is more than enough to generate enthusiasm for her upcoming album.

Following the screening, Fairlight played a short set, backed by a drummer, bassist, and violin player. She seemed surprisingly nervous, maybe because of the intimacy of the venue and close-range scrutiny of the audience. However her nerves didn’t reach her vocal chords, which executed a stunningly beautiful and strongly assured performance. Fairlight’s songwriting often eschewed the hefty word counts of many folk songs, opting instead for simple yet effective repeated lines – sometimes to the extent where I expected the song to get properly underway soon only for it to end (not a negative thing but a point of interest). The backing band played simply and solidly, and the overall result was a country-influenced folk sound I would happily soak in for the length of a fuller set.

She informed us between songs that she had received the final mixes for her upcoming album that day, and that it would be ready in April or May. If The Escape is anything to go by, this’ll be a release to look out for. If not, try see her sing live if you can anyway.

Ruben Mita

Ruben snapped a few shots with his phone during the show, and while they are not up to our usual standard, we thought they were worth sharing.