Tis Rock Music 2019
Yorkshire lass brings her sassy class to the stage yet takes time to ignite the blues.
Stunning punters for almost a decade now, this artist may have released only two studio records but her on-stage album has been long overdue, and “Bury’d Alive” – drawing on both of those and throwing in a few surprises – will not disappoint Ms McGregor’s fans. A snapshot of a single concert, preserved for posterity in Bury St Edmunds in March 2019, it’s as honest as it gets and increasingly exciting, too, even though the lack of banter with the audience (whose presence is felt in rare cheer) doesn’t add a lot of focus to Chantel’s performances, so the show should seem a bit anemic at first. Still, there’s a smoldering set on display – to savor the raw energy she and her rhythm section bring on to rock the cynics stating that blondes and blues can’t blend.
From the serrated edge of opener “Take The Power” to the exhilarating finale of “Freefalling” which frame this sonic document, McGregor’s guitar wrings every ounce of emotion out of original numbers and fuels her act where vocals fail to land a blow, yet it’s only when “Inconsolable” – the sole cover on offer – is unfolded in all the epic entirety, that Chantel’s spirit starts to truly soar, despite the deliciously frantic riff “Killing Time” trying to get there much earlier. Overall, heavier tracks such as “Lose Control” work better in live environment than reflexive cuts like “Eternal Dream” – its stinging six-string wigout notwithstanding – but subtlety and attack behind “Walk On Land” provide the singer with the light and shade which are often lost in front of the audience, while the blistering licks of previously unissued instrumental “April” impress the most.
Perhaps, not a perfect picture of the British belle’s abilities, “Bury’d Alive” is an important step in her, and Albion’s blues, today’s trip.