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74: Groove-filled nights and hazy lights: a night with TONIA at ROUGH TRADE LIVERPOOL...

Amongst the buzz of eager muso-heads craving an evening of dreamy harmony and mesmerising grooves, Tonia's glitter-lined eye watched over in wonder (literally - did you see that stage design)?!. Not many artists can say that they christened a new stage, and with the highly-esteemed Rough Trade name firmly printed across Liverpool's latest venue - no one could've opened the place up for business quite like Tonia. A night packed with lovestruck lyrics, effortless melodies and many approving head-bobs from the audience, the rising singer-songwriter took to the stage with everything she does best - and we are here to relive it all in full...


Starting the night with an ethereal set from Maria Olsen, the Oslo-raised, Liverpool-based artist graced us with reverb-soaked guitar arrangements and delicate vocal entries as you stepped foot in the shiny new venue on Hanover Street. Maria captured all the hungry-for-great-music fans with introverted lyricism and a spellbinding stage presence, and after 30 minutes of pin-drop captivation, another support slot from Aimee & The Parade turned those tears into screams: an explosion of maximalism at it's best. With haunting melodies and an infectious joy that spread across every corner of the stage in the band's capable hands, it was clear that this evening was going to be so much more than just a gig: it was a celebration of the versatility and passion found in the upcoming Liverpool scene, and all the faces that pass through it.

After being introduced to the ever-promising support acts, we fell into the comfort blanket that is Tonia's discography with her extended headline set - a journey through her doodle-covered diary of heartbreak and lost friendships. From the nostalgia-infused vocal harmonies to the playful intricacies glistening through each of the band members' impeccable talents, the dream team of musicians created a hybrid of RnB, bedroom-pop and soul: including the artist's staple tunes 'Why?' and 'I Kind of Liked It' to get everyone singing along. Not only did the tracks get us boogying, but the more vulnerable 'Paris' and 'What Have I Become' cut through the crowds as poignant snippets of pure emotion - Tonia clearly capable of holding a room with her fearless writing approach and candid stage presence.

Underneath the sleek production, flawless band arrangements and overall great vibes, what really shone through the soon-to-be-landmark room that night was Tonia's beautifully honest personality - each audience member was treated as a friend having a catch up over coffee (or maybe something stronger) in that moment. Whether you travelling up for the occasion, or just hopped on the 82 bus for five minutes, everyone was there for the same reason: to appreciate the sounds and performance of Tonia and Co. From mid-song chit-chat, to in-depth detail of unreleased tracks, Tonia unpicked her artistry before our eyes and left room for us to enjoy each track in it's own right - everything placed perfectly in a gig most would say was in their top 3 of 2024 so far.

After journeying through the Greatest Hits of Tonia, as well as some future unreleased hits, the night was sealed off with an iconic cover and a DJ set from Poolside Pumpers - and although the room was left as it was found by the end of the night, the sounds of that debut gig at Rough Trade will live on forever inside the walls of the venue, and the heart's of everyone that went.


For all the latest from Tonia, check out her latest EP 'Different This Time?' below, and follow @heyitstonez on socials to keep up with the momentum.

Review No. 74

by Meg Shaw, Local & Live Media

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