Natalie Prass @ Mono, Glasgow, 29 April
Ahead of releasing her sophomore album, Natalie Prass is on top form tonight and seeing her in a venue as intimate as Mono feels like a real privilege
Before we even begin to talk about the music, to talk about how Natalie Prass’ debut album would be the best album of the year whatever year it came out, how she’s built upon the Disney Princess Dusty Springfield vibes of that record and is bringing through lush 70s heavy funk influences to her new material, it’s worth celebrating any band who come out in full royal blue suits, with the lead singer in pink velvet. Natalie Prass, come through, it’s been too long.
Tonight at Mono is the last stop on a small UK tour in advance of her new record – The Future and the Past, set for release on 1 June – and she’s clearly enjoying herself. Starting the set free from her guitar, she stomps, slides and sashays her way through the new stuff, and there’s a steady ripple through the crowd as everyone realises this might be one of those gigs you might need to dance to.
It’s not so much a U-turn from her older material, more a natural progression, and you feel her band are a crucial element in that. Her melodies are brought to life tenfold through lush guitar soloing and some of the best jazz piano you’ll hear in pop this year. Stand out tracks from her eponymous debut record, My Baby Don’t Understand Me and Why Don’t You Believe In Me get a new lease of life like someone’s shaken hot sauce all over them, not that they were anywhere near bland to begin with.
There’s also a couple of tracks that feel particularly pertinent: Sisters is boldly and brilliantly feminist, while Ship Go Down is introduced as a response to the state of America right now. There’s no proselytizing, mind. Everything in Prass’ set slaps, and between tracks she’s totally disarming and clearly glad to be back on stage. On this form, she could be set for a big year, so to see her in a venue as intimate as Mono feels like a real privilege. A special mention to Jalen N’Gonda too, who opened the show and joined Prass for a track – a powerful vocalist with a tight set of slick, neo-soul, he’s definitely someone worth keeping an eye on.