Cambridge Corn Exchange, 12th March 2013
By album three, many artists start to lose some interest, and have to try radical changes in direction to stay relevant. Somehow Amy Macdonald never seemed likely to take that path, and now, touring her 3rd album, Life in a Beautiful Light, she sounds little different to when she first appeared.
From the Corn Exchange crowd, it was obvious that she remains popular across generations, from young girls to grandparents. Support act Ben Montague’s two-man show got a good response, particularly with Can’t Hold Me Down and Haunted, but nothing compared to the noise when Macdonald arrived onstage. Her show was friendly to all ages, with no particularly edgy moments; most songs finished with a soft, polite ‘thank you’, followed by a brief chat about football. Her earlier songs tended to stand out, though recent single Slow It Down also impressed. Other highlights included a short acoustic set, including a stripped back Give It All Up, penultimate song Barrowland Ballroom, and perhaps best of all, Amy’s brief transformation into a soul belter for Jackie Wilson’s Higher and Higher.
Despite the lure of big arenas, Macdonald is her own woman, and has chosen to stick to smaller venues. On this evidence, it’s a good choice: while it’s a very inoffensive set, she looks at home, and even her weaker tracks make more sense live than on album, making for an uplifting and enjoyable show for all.