April 24, 2024

Brooke Combe – Live in Leeds 2022 – “anything for a bit more of that voice”

Live at Headrow House, Leeds    30th September 2022

Brooke Combe must be feeling very pleased with herself. On her debut headline tour, she’s sold out this 150 capacity Leeds venue with nothing but a handful of singles behind her from the last year or so. At only 21, her voice is already a high-powered soul machine with a powerful reserve. Her batch of covers found on Youtube show her ability with a classic line. Sadly tonight’s short set is solely her own songs but those songs are strongly hook-laden and imbued with a deep-set strength of spirit.

Opening with the slinky ‘A Game’, she goes on to drop a couple of new songs in, alongside the four well-known ones in a ten-song set. Having a nice habit of dropping demos of new songs onto Facebook, many have come across ‘My Heart Don’t Give Up’ before and ‘Black Is The New Gold’ is a pure stormer on first hearing. “I grew up in a white world”, Brooke says, “I’m mixed race and soul music was my connection to black culture”. It’s the next single and enough of an anthem to be a breakthrough.

Elsewhere ‘Impress You’ is sassy and sexy, ‘Miss Me Now’ the dancefloor boogie it was on record and ‘Over You’ a tale of standing proud after leaving a “psycho boyfriend”. The show is all about Combe, with the band being steadily competent – the calm bass, unobtrusive rhythm guitar and workmanlike drums. I want to hear more of those solo spots from YouTube and the jazzy tinge she can do. There is a lot of talent but also a lot of technique in Brooke Combe, having massively benefited from music lessons, from trombone through a handful of other instruments on to advanced level voice training. Any time you see a government underfunding schools (hint: look at the Tories), remember that is where our entertainment, soul and spirit is bred. Pay your taxes and reap the benefit in talents like this getting nurtured.

The set catches fire for the last two songs – ‘Angie’ is a total stomper and big single ‘Are You With Me’ is absolutely huge. I think everyone would have been delighted to have padded the 35 minutes out with a slab of covers; anything for a bit more of that voice. One to watch – it won’t be long till I’ll be boasting of having seen her way back when.

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