Gig Review: Toni Sidgwick at Head of Steam, Norton - 26/03/2017

Written By: Steph Clayton

The Gig: Toni Sidgwick

Venue: Head of Steam, Norton

The Head of Steam in Norton is a small, welcoming and cosy place with it being a restaurant as well as a bar and live music venue.

Its intimate setting made a perfect venue for this evening’s acoustic set played by Toni Sidgwick, who was accompanied by Gary Sanders on the cajon.

Unfortunately there were only a handful of gig-goers on this Mothering Sunday, but that didn’t stop Toni performing her mixed set of original songs and covers with nothing but perfection.

Toni is originally from Ollaberry in the Shetlands Islands but now resides in County Durham. Last year she won UbeatTV’s Traditional Act of the Year 2016 and it is clear as to why, as her folk/pop with percussive guitar style approach really makes you stop and listen. For example, ‘Frankie Oh’, which she gained inspiration to write whilst travelling in America, includes stunning vocals and meaningful lyrics along with a unique style of guitar picking that really pull you into the song. Her style somewhat reminds me of The Beautiful South; and the percussion elements on the cajon added a fantastic texture and rhythm to the set. She made a cover of Blondie’s ‘Heart of Glass’ her own. And something else that really caught my attention during her set was her cover of Lordes’ ‘Royals’, which she creatively mashed with Massive Attacks’ ‘Teardrop’ and it was highly effective.

In the past, Toni has supported some highly-respected musicians such as Newton Faulkner, an artist known for his percussive style of guitar playing, with his third album ‘Write It On Your Skin’ reaching number one on the UK Albums Chart. Toni has also performed at the award winning Shetland Folk Festival in 2015.

For someone who started off her musical adventure busking in the streets of Edinburgh, Toni has really come a long way and she is currently working on her first official single release.

Photography by Steph Clayton