Beth McCarthy launches her debut EP with show at York Fibbers.

PICTURE BY: LAURA TOOMER @ToomerGigPhotography


I am usually a big fan of Friday night gigs, that is unless you have to fight through the traffic of York, which let me tell you is something best avoided if at all possible. Dashing home from work with barely enough time for a quick change and a splash of Brut we did our best to beat the queuing traffic and arrived at Fibbers just in time to see the last of Beth McCarthys 3 support acts, The Dunwells (apologies to the other 2)

The Dunwells are a Leeds based  outfit which a quick google search told me were a 4 piece that had been on the circuit since 2009. Tonight however we had the company of just 2 of them in the shape of siblings Joseph and David Dunwell, clearly as the name suggests the engine room of the band.

Armed with acoustic and electric guitars the boys took centre stage and let rip with some great vocals and frankly some cracking tunes. Joe, the younger of the siblings taking lead vocals and ably supported by David who is more than capable of holding a tune and raising the temperature with his own voice.

The sound they create felt a fusion of pop, country and, well perhaps a bit folky at times too and I was minded of a few of the early Mumford and sons sounds in their set. Great guitar riffs, powerful vocals and bags of energy and personality made this a really impressive set. I Need your Love and  Battling Life got everyone on board and set the tone whilst new single We Made Fire in The Pouring Rain added a cherry on top of an already pretty filling cake and finished things off in fine fashion. The catchy tune has a great hook and is easily the sort of thing you can tap your feet along to in the car. Live it sounds even better and this is definitely a band to look out fort and get along to see if you get the chance. we will certainly be looking out for the tour later this year.

So time now for tonight's headline act to take centre stage, local York artist Beth McCarthy. Beth isn't a household name and perhaps won't be familiar to some of you. A singer songwriter since the age of 13, Beths first shot at the big time came in 2014 when she appeared on the voice as part of Kaiser Chief Ricky Wilsons team. Then, as a 16 year old she lasted until the knockout stages, not an unimpressive feat for one so young. Since then Beth has reinvented herself from the quirky hat wearing indie chique singer into a sassy, sexy popstar. 

so we find ourselves at Fibbers, her biggest headline gig to date to date to celebrate that re-invention and to release her new EP, Self Portrait.

The look and sound may have changed from those early days busking on the streets of York but her voice hasn't, Vocally Beth is stunning and this was showcased in her opening number from the new EP 'Shame' soft and raspy vocals with a powerful chorus it was a great way to get things going and the near sell out crowd lapped it up.

The new sound has a more electronic than guitar based feel with keyboards and synthesiser offering a really impressive backing for her own sound. Also impressive is the depth of feeling within the songs and there is a real emotion within the lyrics and Beth's performance. It is believable, real, emotive and you can't help but be engaged and carried along with her. She introduced  EP bonus track 'Living up to Me' as written about living up to expectations following her TV appearances which is a beautiful heartfelt song and had more than one audience member wiping away a tear such was the feeling it was offered up with.

She is a natural on stage and in this environment and as the songs kept coming with 'Everything' 'Crazy For You' and we even managed an Ed Sheeran cover to showcase her guitar playing talents.

We ended the night with new single 'wildfire' another great catchy tune which will be sung along with by audiences much bigger than this in the future for certain.

This was night for new beginnings, for reinventions, for having a great time and watching a performer who is clearly going to have people sitting up and taking notice. By the time we finished I had forgotten about the traffic chaos, the smell of brut had faded (thankfully) and I had been part of something that felt very special, the beginning of a new journey and one that will mostly be spent in the fast lane of a motorway!

This was a great night and I can't wait for the next one.

PHOTOS BY: LAURA TOOMER @ToomerGigPhotography

The Modern Record