Search The Line of Best Fit
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Shrieking, heaving masterpieces: Torres Live

28 September 2015, 11:35 | Written by Amelia Maher

Emerging onstage phantom-like against a backdrop of smoke, there’s something instantly fascinating about Mackenzie Scott, better known under her stage name of Torres.

With her mane of almost platinum white blonde hair and lips painted a deep shade of blue, she looks the part, like something from another world, and when she begins to smash the life out of her guitar - making it screech out across the crowd and howls with all the venom her voice can muster - the effect is spine-chillingly beautiful.

When Torres first emerged with her self-titled debut album all the way back in 2013, the potential for greatness was there for all to see. Yet the release of her second album Sprinter earlier this year marked the moment when the true power of Torres was unleashed. A darker, more explorative and bitter Scott soars through an album that digs to the emotional depths her personal life, and wider musings on religion. It is a fully immersive and highly impressive piece of work, and tonight (23rd September) at the Scala in London, she brings it to life in a whole new way that is nothing short of staggering to behold.

There are moments throughout the performance when Torres almost seems possessed, so totally engrossed is she in the magnitude of the songs. She heaves over her guitar as it sings out, crashing and smashing as her body bellows back and forth in motion with the melodies, as if in a hypnotic trance. Torres completely commands the stage and although she’s joined by a powerful backing band, it is very much a solo performance with something of a loneliness that hangs over her style of delivery. She presents her songs in a way that entrances the audience, but keeps them at a distance.

The album’s title track “Sprinter” marks one of the most powerful moments of the night. As she howls out the chorus, it sends shivers down the spine and the whole room falls silent under her spell. It’s in these moments where the pace relaxes that the masterful intricacies of both the songs and Torres’ performance become clearer under the microscope. She is an incredibly adept performer, and songs such as the brilliant “Cowboy Guilt” and “Strange Hellos”, with all their tricky time signature changes and melodic complexities, further prove her talent and deepen the excitement of the performance as a whole.

Old favourite “Honey” also provides a highlight as it builds into a shrieking, heaving masterpiece before tearing away the layers for the final chorus that just features Torres’ sublimely sad vocals and a cleaner guitar sound. The true mastery of this set becomes clearest in the way that Torres effortlessly presents different sides of herself, with moments of vulnerability sidled up against statements of strength and venom

She’s also very modest, seeming almost shy as she coyly tells the frankly adoring crowd “this is the most fun I’ve ever had in London”. Torres is a force to be reckoned with, and a woman who inevitably has even more to offer. As this tour comes to a close, the future looks incredibly exciting for this both endearing and fascinating performer and songwriter.

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