Bristol must seem a long way from New Jersey, California and Hawaii, all places where Arielle was raised. Discovered by Nuno Bettencourt in 2010, the diminutive singer/songwriter/guitarist has an extensive discography and touring history. Her list of supporting slots is impressive but includes Heart, Joan Jett, Joe Bonamassa and Guns N’ Roses. Tonight she was special guest to When Rivers Meet at The Fleece.
The Fleece, Bristol – 11 May 2023
Words and Photography: Paul Hutchings
Confidence isn’t an issue, although she clumps around the stage like an unsteady toddler at times. “I must have stepped on everything on this stage,” she later laughs. There are a lot of peddles and leads for her to kick.
It’s irrelevant, as it’s her music that bewitches for the 40 or so minutes she’s on stage. Her two-piece English rhythm section locks it down tight, allowing her free reign.
Arielle draws from her nine-album collection, with a couple from her latest release ’73 getting the heads nodding. She’s some guitarist, switching instruments after each song. An extended workout on Kalypso is captivating, whilst she drops to acoustic with ease.
Between songs, her patter is gentle, measured, and witty. Her US drawl is engaging. She talks about her lack of love life, her choice, due to the life she leads, before introducing us to Two Tone, the guitar she built 16 years ago and which is now part of the Brian May Guitar series.
Calm, assured, and with a hell of a repertoire, Arielle takes Bristol by storm. Those that may have been a bit dismissive are suddenly caught up in the ferocious blues storm she whips up.
It’s over too quickly. But I would imagine she’ll be back, headlining this venue very soon.