Kristin Hersh at Meltdown 2018

‘This is a lullaby,” Kristin Hersh tells the sold-out audience at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, ‘It’s about a guy who gets drunk and kills his girlfriend’, she pauses, smiles, ‘You’re welcome’.

She strums the opening chords to her version of the traditional folk song ‘Cuckoo’, one of the tracks from her timeless debut solo album ‘Hips and Makers’ which was released way back in 1994. 

The sound builds as she is joined by cellist Martin McCarrick, and the rich tones fill the newly-refurbished concert hall.

Kristin’s voice has a folky purity and sweetness one moment, with a gritty and dramatic twist the next, drawing us in to the stories her lyrics tell. 

Writing songs since the 80’s with her bands Throwing Muses and 50foot Wave, as well as her solo albums, Kristin has a huge back catalogue to choose from, and picks some fabulous tracks to perform at this Meltdown Festival show.

‘Static’, ‘Your Dirty Answer’ and ‘Mississippi Kite’ are stand-out songs and the audience burst into applause when they hear the haunting introduction to her most famous solo single, ‘Your Ghost’. A beautiful song of love and loss which originally featured Michael Stipe of REM.

The show ends with two encores and Throwing Muses track, ‘Cottonmouth’ the final song. ‘You snake, you Cottonmouth, I hope you remember me this way’ sings Kristin, I’m sure everyone in the audience will remember this evening for a long time.

Words/Images by Lorna Cort.

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