Laura Veirs: Gig review- 'this working mother has it all'

Islington Assembly Hall, London

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The Independent Culture

A giddy, end-of-tour feel pervades this evening, not least when Laura Veirs invites two of her youngest female fans on stage to dance. Maybe unfamiliar behaviour for an ever prim figure in her severe spectacles and Alice band, though another sign that motherhood suits this indie-folk artist from hipster enclave Portland, Oregon.

Ninth album Warp & Weft, released in the summer, is one of her strongest yet. Its title suggests homespun charm, while hinting at its deep, rich tapestry. Backed by an able trio of musicians, Veirs runs through highlights that range from the Alice Coltrane-inspired, jazz-inflected 'White Cherry' to the stark, gently anti-gun law 'America', the closest she has come to a protest song.

Musically, Alex Guy provides some of the most sumptuous textures on viola, though, nothing overshadows Veirs's beguiling lyrics, notably her continuing meditations on nature, the more sun-kissed and salt-sprayed the better. The singer's cool, crystalline delivery fails to disguise her wide-eyed wonder.

Veirs's punk background rears its head on moments of feisty guitar pop – think a more rational Throwing Muses – before a frayed, feedback-drenched finale that brings to mind early REM. From acoustic ballads to squalling guitars solos, this working mother has it all.