Lindi Ortega Voodoo Rooms

In the 12 years since her debut album The Taste of Forbidden Fruit, Canadian (albeit of Mexican/Irish descent) singer-songwriter Lindi Ortega has built up an impressive catalogue of songs, and put in a power of hard work, touring the world as a support to acts such as Keane and as a backup singer for Killers front man Brandon Flowers, not to mention countless gigs as a headliner herself. Given all of that, plus the occasional cameo in ABC’s Nashville, you might expect her to be playing venues a little bigger than the Voodoo Rooms. Not that I’m complaining, the chance to see her in a setting this intimate was not to be missed. And since there was a full house who responded delightedly to this scorcher of a gig, I get the feeling she’ll be playing bigger halls next time round.

This was an impressive, no, wait, make that faultless, performance from start to finish. Possessed of a strong, clear voice she was ably assisted by Alex Cox on percussion and Champagne James Robertson (or “Robbo” as he was dubbed for the evening – “He’s got a Scottish name, right?”) and wearing her trademark black with a birdcage veil she proclaimed herself dressed for a funeral, although she’d freeze if she turned up like that at a graveside in this country.

It’s hard to pick highlights from a gig that started on a high and went upwards from there, but “Waitin’ on My Luck to Change”, “All these Cats” and, perhaps most impressive of all, “Voodoo Mama” from the Tin Star album, along with “Ashes” and the Eagles’ “Desperado” are still with me as I write this. Throw in a slowed-down “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” among the encores, and you have a memorable gig indeed.

And credit the sound crew – those folk who rarely get a mention unless something goes wrong did a fine job here.

She has been likened in the past to Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash(!) and even a country Amy Winehouse, but throw all of that out the window. She’s Lindi Ortega, and on this showing, that’s all she’ll ever need to be.

Jim Welsh