As the warm applause for tonight’s opening act begins to peter out, scores of Andreya Triana’s admiring fans begin to bustle for their space in a jam-packed Madame JoJo’s. With their eyes fervently fixed on the stage, it’s obvious how excited they all are to hear the singer’s familiarly smoky vocals and to experience her always-engaging presence. However, it’s immediately obvious that Andreya doesn’t plan to play it safe tonight; she seems to have quite the surprise up her checkered sleeve, and mere absorption will not be the order of the day.
With the joy and elation of being back on stage, Andreya beams as she makes her entrance. Her band, hungry to get started, seize the moment by firing straight into brand new track, ‘Best Is Yet To Come’ - a slap aside of sorts to everything that came before, and a genuine statement of intent. Brimming with big vocal hooks, insanely catchy guitar riffs, and a powerful rhythm section, the song’s depth and obvious attention to detail are abundantly apparent, telling fans everything they need to know about the singer’s new direction, quite obviously highlighting the beginning of an exciting new phase.
Pleasingly, amidst huge choruses, interwoven string arrangements and a newfound oomph, every ounce of Andreya’s soulful roots are heard, meaning die-hard fans need not fear a total departure from previous releases. Nevertheless, there are differences; where her first album was rooted in spirit and feeling, this new material seems ultimately about songs. The constant juxtaposition between her now easily recognizable vocals and crisp and freshly produced new music amounts to nothing short of grand, emphasising her potential to far surpass any earlier achievements as an artist.
The new songs – with standouts including the hugely dynamic ‘Not Today’ and the deeply personal, and '80s power/pop infused ‘Everything You Never Had’ - are emboldened by a new vigour and brazen intensity, but thankfully, Andreya and her band, acutely aware of tonight’s adoring crowd, cautiously weave in the old with the new. The beautiful simplicity of fan favourite, ‘Lost Where I Belong’ and the solitary, melancholic sounds of ‘Draw The Stars’ fit seamlessly amidst that new wholly bigger sound, reminding the audience of what they loved about the artist in the first place.
The best thing about tonight though, and Andreya herself for that matter, is that she quite obviously enjoys engaging with her audience. But, even more importantly, it’s clear that none of what she does or says is forced for entertainment value, as her intimate stories about music and life help to effortlessly take the room in a huge embrace, making this intimate show feel like a truly shared experience.
Words by Russell Cook