Janie Bay's set at Puma Real Music Wednesdays contained several covers of modern pop hits, among them a medley of Gaga singles and Adele's "Rolling in the Deep". Usually, this would be a dodgy approach, if only because these songs are so contemporary, and any artist attempting them would be accused of going for what Mick Foley famously called the "cheap pop".
But what set the young folk rock singer apart – and undoubtedly excused any other indiscretions – was a bizarrely wonderful take on, of all things, TLC's "No Scrubs". The oddity of it is obvious, but Bay's approach is a fine example of how to take a song so defined by another context and make it your own.
Add to that the ominous presence of Bay's accompanist – a man known only as 'The Beard' – and you get a set that had far more to offer than most of the particularly loud crowd of boozers tonight might have noticed. Bay explains that the anticipation of this led to the set choice, not least because her original material – some of which she did manage to shoehorn into the quietly confident set – would be a tough sell.
I'm not so sure that she isn't selling herself short. What we did hear from Bay's songbook is more than promising, and we'd love to see this lady somehow make a few bigger shows – possibly even Oppikoppi, which she is gamely lobbying for.