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LIVE REVIEW: Tessa Fleur enchants at The Junk Bar

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Album Art captured by Charlotte Adams with Sam Flowers.

What better way to spend a Sunday night than enveloped in the warm embrace of ethereal folk magic? Tessa Fleur’s Sunday 5th November sold-out release show for her debut EP Trial, organised in conjunction with MTO records, was all this and more.

Perfectly situated at the Junk Bar, which in its very nature creates an environment of classic authentic intimacy, the night was full of folky storytelling. With a spectacularly curated line-up, the night opened with a beautiful acoustic band set from Pushing Daisies, followed by harmonies so exquisite they crack your heart in two from Thursday Maybe.

Tessa Fleur graces the stage with such a cool charisma, a presence that intertwines earthy with ethereality. Wearing a heavenly icy blue tasselled number by Bulley Bulley the label, she opens with the title track of the EP, ‘Trial,’ playing alongside a stripped-back version of her band – with Yanto Browning on slide guitar and Nick Marks on electric guitar.

She follows up with 'Grey', a magical song which closes out with her band joining her in an acoustic singalong on ‘ahs.’ 'Death by Black Hole' comes next. Mysterious and mesmerising with an air of cool girl, this song was released as a feature single of the EP and is Tessa’s highest streaming track.

We hear a live rendition of 'The Hell of it All' from the EP, as well as some beautiful unreleased tracks, with Tessa’s distinctly tender lead folky vocals complimented delicately by Nick Marks’ soft harmonies. Yanto Browning’s slide guitar introduces a timelessly classic element, leaving you feeling almost as if you closed your eyes, you’d awaken to find yourself swinging on the garden gate of a ranch.

In between tracks, Tessa tells us,

"That song was about being sad."

Perhaps it's her effortlessly soft vocal delivery or perhaps it's that she managed to curate a roomful of people who crave songs that make them feel exactly that, but as she says this, the crowd seems to come in even closer, warm smiles upon faces.

Halfway through the set, she takes a moment to express her gratitude for the empathy of Joe from MTO Records, her collaborator in putting the show together and thus supporter through navigating a variety of hurdles in the lead up to the night.

Before continuing on, Tessa tells us softly,

"Everything’s gonna be okay,"

And you know what? As she starts playing and you're enveloped in a wash of music that feels like you’ve always known it, you find yourself believing her.

For the last song of the set, ‘Avalon,’ a soothingly sombre song with the catchiest hook, Tessa welcomes Thursday Maybe back onto the stage, and we are lucky enough to be met with a tight tapestry of vocal harmonies to close out the night.

Well, I’m certain I can speak for everyone in expressing confidently that Tessa Fleur’s Debut Ep Launch was a beautiful show – exquisite in its acoustic simplicity, raw and grounded yet enchanting. The kind of night that left us without a dry eye in the room, where we walked away feeling enriched.

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