Molly Rymer at Oporto on 27 June

Another night of uplifting music provided by the ever-popular Oporto, situated in the heart of Leeds City Centre’s Call Lane!

When I was approached to cover this one, I can’t admit I had ever heard of any of the artists playing at Oporto last Thursday, other than that Molly Rymer in all of the email exchanges seemed like a name that jumped off the page. I’m glad to say, it bounced into my mind in an instant – and for good reason.

Through the heat-riddled nights we’ve been enjoying and enduring in West Yorkshire of late, it’s hard to say that it came as a surprise that the heavens clouded over. The blue skies were gone, replaced by wind and grey. Through the dreary late-June weather change, I made my way into Oporto to be greeted by people of all ages. Young, older, pint-enjoyers, locals – the works. If you’re reading this and you’ve never had the fortune of attending Oporto – absolutely go for it. The low-lit interior packs plenty of charm, paired with the glow of the red neon sign behind the bar. Booming voices from every-which-way really set the tone for the night ahead.

Since 1996, Oporto has been a destination for partygoers and drinkers alike. I’ve enjoyed the finest food and drinks that side of the Corn Exchange has to offer, and it’s always a pleasant experience.

Joining the rest of the music-lovers for the night, it struck me how polite, sophisticated and eager folk were, and
highly receptive of everything – from the opening support to the closing of the headliner. Such an environment also afforded me the great honour of speaking to the supporting acts, and I was able to try my hand at some informal beginner-level journalism! Not bad for someone who has been writing for years, trying to branch out and become better in all aspects of the craft.

Dan Greaves had the unenviable task of warming up the occasionally sheepish crowd as the show began. A lovely lad epitomised through his self-deprecating stage presence, his transparency allowed for an intimate connection with the audience from song-to-song. In a red Hawaiian-esque shirt that would make Ace Ventura proud (and I mean that in the sense I too wish I could expand to a similar taste in clothing), I felt a connection with the youngster as I spoke to him after the set.

With plenty of shows in Wakefield, he could not contain his enthusiasm for jumping to the occasion of playing this show. For half an hour he dazzled with songs, including a catchy folk song NO!NO!NO! he wrote when pressed by a canvasser of the Conservative party. The cover of Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story equally led us through what can be perceived as a nostalgic trip down memory lane for those in their late-twenties. When I asked what Dan wanted me to put across in this review, his response was “say nice things”. Well, that’s no problem at all! It was a pleasure.

Case Open continued the mood with a humbling and bittersweet range of songs. Extremely candid about his past struggles, everything that came from the young man’s lips was real, and came from a place of purity. Leaving the room hanging onto each and every note, for all of the downbeat and melancholic notes strummed, he made up for with catchy rap-parts, and incorporated a zealous spoken-word element to his set. His vibe resonated, having travelled to Leeds moons ago by way of Stockport by Manchester

While typically performing with a backing track or a synthesizer, it was evident that even without this equipment he can put on a show. With plenty of stuff coming soon, he told us, the musician is compelled and motivated to strike a chord with any audience – and he warmed the seat up for what was still to come.

When they took the stage, Molly Rymer and her band’s presence immediately emitted a different energy entirely. A six-piece comprised of an acoustic guitarist, a double-bassist, a drummer, a celloist and a choir of two, this spirited approach is simply the next big expansion on an already winning formula. The singer-songwriter frontwoman has wowed audiences in Leeds over the years, and the addition of a band added an extra layer to her presentation.

With a calming and intimate demeanour, Molly delivered a performance full of soulful and spirited songs. With a smile like a hug, she announced candidly that it was her band’s first time playing a show altogether in one room. Songs that felt very much like love-letters to early budding romance and blossoming relationships included lyrics about late-night texting.

Even throwing in a delectable cover of Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic”, Molly proudly declared it was a track jammed from the tender age of eight on the karaoke.

Molly’s family members were in the crowd. Her Mum’s smile said it all: she was proud of her daughter, and with outstanding reason. An astonishing set saw the moods change and the emotions wash like the tide, to and fro.

It was an honour to have covered the group in their first live endeavour, united by a vocal imperative to impress, enlighten and delight the audience. I’m curious and keen to see how high they can fly, especially with an EP on the way. You can listen to Molly Rymer’s blend of ear-candy right now on Spotify, having just released a new single – “Two Years This May”. Her debut EP “All You Can Eat” is in the works, and will surely be a standout later this year. Be sure to watch out, and pay attention to her Instagram account for updates, including when you can catch the rising star live.

Case Open continues to break boundaries set out in day-to-day life. With a complete catalogue of songs available on Spotify, it’s no wonder what the future holds for the up-and-comer. Keep in the loop with what’s in store on his Instagram now.

Dan Greaves looks to excel through his music and videography. The young entrepreneur is on the path to glory, and you can find out all about him and his music on Instagram.

Photography by Millie Stephens.

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