Summer Streets Festival
9th July 2022
‘Discovering New Music’ has always been something of a mantra for me; so when I decided on
a trip to Cliffe Park, Sunderland for the ‘Summer Streets Festival‘ it was the line-up on the
BBC Introducing stage that caught my eye, in particular Faye Fantarrow who piqued
my interest – in 2021 Faye had received the prestigious Alan Hull songwriting award so I was curious to
see what the self described ‘19 year old female singer/songwriter….[playing] indie/pop with a
hint of folk‘ would conjure up on a warm July afternoon.
It didn’t take long; a few lines in and I was hooked.
Faye, strumming a few simple chords on acoustic guitar allows her rich voice to dominate; but it’s the lyrics that draw me in. She does acknowledge Sam Fender as an influence on her songwriting and that much is clear, but as I scramble around in my brain for other influences, I struggle.
Maybe there is something of a young Kirsty MacColl in there, but Faye struck me as a young woman forging her own style rather than being overly moribund by those who have gone before, like so many other bright young singer/songwriters these days.
Her songs are observational and even hint at her political leanings without being ‘preachy’ in any
‘Contraband Kisses’ tells the story of a night out in Sunderland with a guy who ‘pops
pills while I do lipstick‘.
It’s a song that reflects on the drink/drug culture that dominates our cities and towns at weekends.
A culture that clearly troubles Faye – later in her set she states that ‘the drink and drugs don’t fix me they eclipse me‘.
Between songs she tells the audience that she’s ‘Happy Boris Johnson is gone‘ and is ‘sick of
living under a blue regime‘ and goes on to sing that she can ‘barely pay my way….that’s real
In a stripped back version of her single Noughties; Faye makes the statement that
‘we’re the 3 zero babies, we make the world crazy’.
‘Take it back to the 90’s‘ she implores.
You wonder if it’s a plea for a simpler lifestyle, nonetheless I’m struck by what appears to be
a nostalgic view of the world by someone so young.
Then again, it’s probably more of a reflection on the mess the ‘boomers’ in the room have created throughout her lifetime.
My scribbled notes on the day concluded ‘A mix of blues, jazz with a hint of rap – sparse use
of guitar – it’s the voice, vocal style and the lyrics that really engage; hard to define.’
That about sums Faye Fantarrow up for me, one thing’s for sure I really like what she’s doing.
Review by William Graham.
#Photo courtesy Iam Burn
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