I went with a friend to see Grace Petrie last night. If you’re not familiar with her work, she’s a protest singer with a big voice and an even bigger heart. She described this song, Black Tie, as “the closest thing I’ve had to a hit.” It was spellbinding last night, Petrie solo with just an acoustic guitar.
This was the only one of her songs my friend and I had heard before last night. We were there as much for political reasons as musical: Petrie has been a vocal friend to trans people, and as a result she’s been subject to appalling online abuse. I figured if someone’s willing to put up with that shit on our behalf, the least we can do is go to one of her shows.
I’m glad I did. Petrie is a born storyteller, but while her between-song chat is hilarious her songs have real emotional heft. This song had me (and the young woman in front of me) in floods of tears.
As is often the case with Petrie, the intro is as long as the song. But it’s worth keeping your finger off the fast-forward button because it adds some extra colour to an already beautiful piece of music.
Last night’s show was a real revelation, and my pal and I are now big fans with official merchandise to prove it. If you go to smaller gigs and you can afford it, please buy something from the merch stall: musicians at this level are barely getting by and a few T-shirt sales can make a big difference to whether or not they can afford to pay the rent.
Petrie’s tour is over now, but she’s back soon as support for The Guilty Feminist tour in a couple of weeks time. I think tickets are still available, and she’s worth turning up early for.