To paraphrase Lewis Carroll’s White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, I’m late. I’m late. I’m late for Little May’s gig at Black Bear Lodge. I’m speed walking faster than Kath and Kel, weaving in between people better than our Uber driver. As I peel away Black Bear’s black veneer separating the bar and crowd, there lies Little May, nestled on stage at the back of the room, mere words into their first song. Lead singer Hannah Field stands next to fellow vocalist and guitarist Liz Drummond, their backing band standing snugly behind them, instruments strategically placed on the tiny stage like a game of human Jenga. The band’s sound is much more fleshed out than in previous sets, keeping in mind it’s been about five years since I’m seen them live. This time, Little May’s tour is in support of their 2018 single Lover, and the recently released Apples.
The crowd sway back and forth every so slightly to Little May’s folk jams. Those who choose not to sway are glued to the walls like flies to honey. The circumference of the room is painted with bodies, their eyes fixed on the stage as Field’s black sequined dress shimmers with moments of gold as the lights passes over. She twists to the acoustic strums of Drummond, the rolling drum rhythms and harmonious piano chords of the backing band, like a young Stevie Nicks in a dress that would make King Midas weak at the knees.
Hide makes an early appearance on the set list showing Little May’s solid folk roots. The woodiness of the softly strummed guitar adds an element of darkness to their music, paired with the hauntingly beautiful vocal harmonies. Though their early hits are always crowd pleasers, it’s Little May’s newest material that shows growth and excitement in a struggling genre. Tracks Apples and Lover ditch the earthy acoustic strums and rolling folk drum rhythms for electric guitars and solid rock drum beats. Little May show more pop appeal to their song writing, and in turn has punters pealing from the wall and showing little hesitation to dance. Drummond and Field’s rich vocal harmonies and solid song writing are just as prevalent in their new material, but the pair show maturity and growth in their genre shift.
Little May’s set draws to an abrupt close as the band show glimpses of what we can see from their upcoming record, Blame My Body, set for release on May 3. I for one am excited for the record, after years of loving their early EPs, but being slightly disappointed with their debut album back in 2015. Little May’s brief single tour allowed them to test the waters with their latest material, Apples being one of my favourite tracks of the year so far. I’m excited to see what Little May do next.