Rachel Sermanni comes onto the stage and blithely announces that she has made a new instrument – out of spoons that she bought in a charity shop. It is the first bizarre tangent of many in the set and reveals an irreverent sense of humour about Sermanni, a desire not to take things too seriously.
If there’s one thing she is serious about, it’s her music. She had just been touring Canada for the last three weeks and had returned only two days before. Sermanni has been working ceaselessly since releasing her debut album last September, but she seems no less vibrant for it. She is as enthusiastic about this gig as any before – if not more, feeding off the familiar Scottish welcome.
It is this album from which she primarily draws, including personal favourites such as the dynamic ‘Bones’ and the more introspective ‘The Fog’. She also treats the audience to a couple of unheard tracks. Asked, for example, to write on the subject of the early hours of the morning, she has composed a piece which reveals her limited experiences of the nightclub in her hometown – or, more specifically, the taxi ride home. She is most at ease, she tells us, in the quiet dignity of her songs as opposed to the loud night out.
There is a complexity to her songs submerged beneath their immediate accessibility. She is a savvy songwriter with an acute ear. All the while, she executes her songs with a kind of half-smile: ‘This is great fun,’ she says – and we believe her. Her voice, too, is a remarkable thing. She comfortably reaches high notes, which sound soft and refined, then she arcs downwards into a smoky-voiced growl which rolls through the room.
Then she’s back to stories about her travels and her family in her chipper Scottish lilt. This is a girl at ease on the stage. One gets the sense it is where she is meant to be.