In the hot downstairs bar of The Social, Alex Winston pitched her place to perform her UK debut of soulful pop melodies with full throttle Detroit sass and powerful, unwavering vocals. Appropriately hailing from The Supremes hometown of ‘Rock City’, Miss Winston had the backing of three singers she calls her “sister wives” that performed all the “woops”, “ah’s” and hip-shaking duties you would come to expect. As a multi-instrumentalist some may have presumed that she would work her way around the instruments one by one but backed by her new band she relished in the freedom (or as much as the small stage would provide), moving with a flair and confidence required to match her vocal individuality. Taking to the guitar for an acoustic performance of ‘I Don’t Care About Anything’ she showcased her talent as an accomplished songwriter, focussing on the confessional Dusty Springsfield-esque lyrics with a tender, grittiness.
With livelier songs on the agenda, Alex Winston made the most of the sprightly melodies and catchy choruses in the songs such as ‘Sister Wife’, jumping around, whipping her head back with rambunctious regard and belting out bitch-pop lyrics: “Hey there sister wife/ Get the hell out its my night/ You don’t know the way to his heart like I do.” ‘Medicine’ too, had the same effect on both her and the crowd with its achingly memorable chorus that forced the room’s involvement into a sing-a-long. It is clear that the self-confessed Anglophile has found her place warmly between something that is wholly quirky- both vocally and lyrically and something hugely accessible. It is this mix perhaps that works better within the emerging UK music scene and that made this gig feel more like a welcome home performance than a UK debut. Hosted by the mighty Chess Club Records, it is clear that this is most definitely the start of some wonderful international relations.
Alex Winston’s new single ‘Choice Notes’ is out now on Heavy Roc and The Basement Covers EP is available for download here.