Date: 8th June 2017 Venue: Gateshead Sage 2 Genre: Dance-pop Words & Photography: Victoria Ling – Victoria@137imaging.co.uk There was definitely a lot in the air up and down the country on June 8th 2017. Yes,… More
Date: 3rd May 2017
Venue: Hoxton Hall
Genre: Soul-pop with electro
Words & Photography: Victoria Ling – firstname.lastname@example.org
Ever had an idea that looks perfect on paper and then when it happens you just think “this is actually crazy!” Well, I have had a few moments like this in my time. but on crazy scale this is near the top.
Tuesday 2nd May 23:50 hours, bus leaves Newcastle. It runs a little late and arrives into London 8:30am on the Wednesday. This was fine by me as I had a whole day ahead of me. Fast forward to 7pm though and there I am at Hoxton Hall. From the outside it doesn’t seem like much, however I did not realize it had a floor and two tiers. Seeing as I had been on my feet for most of the day I went for Tier 1 above the stage. The only downfall was that the whole band was not in view, but to look down at the whole venue was a beautiful thing and we had the lady of the night, Jones center stage and that was all that mattered.
After waiting for nearly too long, the night began with Australian duo Geowulf and their dreamy pop sounds as people were still fluttering in deciding on if they had chosen the right place to enjoy the rest of the show. The sounds of Geowulf, and their uplifting engagement with the crowd are sounds you can happily just put your feet up and enjoy.
For Jones’ scheduled time the room was at capacity and you could feel the anticipation in the air. After a further 20 minutes of waiting not-so-patiently, it was a sigh of relief when the band of Jack Lawrenson (guitars) and Kieran Guy (drums) started playing and then when Jones herself stepped on the stage. A much-deserved rapturous applause welcomed her and the opening of ‘Rainbow‘ gets our hearts racing, with that big letter ‘J’ shining bright behind them all.
This night in May was dubbed as an ‘acoustic’ show but Jones tells us a few tracks in that during rehearsals herself and the boys got a bit carried away and that the rest of the night was going to be that little louder than previously advertised. We were treated to songs from her debut album ‘New Skin‘, released last October as well as a couple of new numbers from February’s ‘Acoustic‘ EP and recent collaborations. One of the biggest cheers of the night went to ‘Hoops‘ and a surprise mash-up of Zara Larsson’s ‘Lush Life‘ and Years and Years‘ ‘Eyes Shut‘ took a lot of the audience by surprise and even had us pretty overwhelmed.
Seriously, is there anything Miss Jones cannot do?
Last year she put her own unique twist on Calvin Harris’s ‘How Deep Is Your Love‘ (and actually made me like the song!) As a songwriter, Jones is simple but poetic. As a performer, Jones mesmerizes you. She’s one of those rare gems that could sing the phonebook and you would be in awe and her deliverance in the majestic Hoxton Hall adds that extra bit of magic. And just when the set could not get any better, we are graced with a choir for a few numbers. I am dumb founded like I am sure the rest of this sold-out is too as ‘Becoming, Walk My Way‘ and ‘Waterloo‘ are given to us.
‘Handful Of Gold‘ is Jones’ latest release in collaboration with Cazzette. It’s a stomper of a track that takes you on another high. We are basically in a state of euphoria that when Jones leaves the stage and returns with just Jack for ‘Indulge‘ it was the perfect ending, that people were smiling as they were leaving and many waited around to make sure Miss Cherie Jones knew what a stellar job she did. I was on the verge of leaving the building as although people had trains to catch down the road, I had run for a coach back up to Newcastle and the next one was not due for another 8hours if I missed it. And as time had been on my side for the whole day, it would do so again that as I turned to leave, Jones came to see her fans and I got to thank her personally for a brilliant day in the Big Smoke and made it with 15minutes to spare and back to the day job not long after stepping off the coach.
Check out Jones’s ‘Acoustic’ here
Through the eyes of Lil Vik
Date: 28th & 30th March 2017.
Venue: Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, London.
Genre: Dark Pop/Electro-pop.
Words & Photography: Victoria Ling.
The last week of March was dubbed as MUNA week, as the American trio came to London on a highly anticipated whistle stop trip to play the Hoxton Bar & Kitchen in East London. After having sold out the first date in less than 5 minutes, a second date was added which also quickly sold out – not to anyone’s surprise. It was definitely a hot ticket and I was lucky enough to be at BOTH dates.
Admittedly I am a bit late to the MUNA party, only having discovered them three weeks before the release of their debut album ‘About U’. As soon as I heard ‘I Know A Place’ I found myself playing the album non-stopped and was hooked, thinking to myself, ‘am I getting too hyped too quickly?’ and ‘what if it is an anti-climax and I’ve got two shows to go to!’ Thankfully, I was not disappointed.
Tuesday 28th of March was the first night. It was a calm London day. I had stepped off a coach after an 8-hour journey and I could not contain the excitement in my bones. We approached the venue and Hoxton Square was plastered with A2 posters of the debut album. We passed the members of the band in the bar. It was a case of do we/don’t we talk to them. As we plucked up the courage they parted. No worries we will catch them after the show. The queue escalated quickly. My friend who was gigged at HSB&K many times (this was my second and soon to be third) said this rarely happens. Doors delayed opening but we ran in as soon as they did. It was that kind of gig.
There has been a lot of talk about the support act of the opening night. I think a lot of the audience got word of this as it was pretty much packed as Lo Moon took the stage. We were crammed in tightly for their indie-electro sounds and unfortunately for me there were a few talk-active people near to allow me to not enjoy it properly when Lo Moon were definitely giving it their all. For those that took and were allowed to take note, I can see why their live shows have been hyped and there was definitely something endearing about keys/guitarist Crisanta Baker.
With not that much more room, people still squeezed in. Even the tall people were reluctant letting their smaller counterparts in front of them. If it wasn’t hot enough already, we were ready to become a sweatbox. With a slight movement of the side curtain in the darkened room you could hear and feel hearts pounding then a tinkle of the synths and Katie Gavin’s opening lines of I Know A Place, the whole place is electrified and the band is jumping with every person in the place singing out every word, even the new lyrics, “I throw my arms open wide in resistance. He’s not my leader even if he’s my president,” a testament to Trump’s presidency.
A little place swap between Gavin and Naomi McPherson as McPherson takes lead on Promise. The intensity of this is enormous especially when Josette Maskin’s solo kicks in. Even the backing band of Scott Heiner (drums) and Brian Robert Jones (bass) are just as involved that they really are not a backing band, with Gaskin, McPherson and Maskin every single soul on that stage oozed charisma.
Turning the tempo back up End Of Desire has the crowd jumping again and with the mention of new songs (Loser and In My Way) we get excited. In fact there is not one moment that MUNA or the crowd slows down. Well, until they have to wipe the sweat from themselves. It was actually a nice little moment between Gaskin and Maskin and the banter between the whole band is very inclusive of every soul inside of the venue. Speaking of inclusivity, the band requested that the toilets were ‘gender inclusive,’ and inclusive they were. If you are unaware of MUNA, they are a political group. It is in their lyrics and it is apparent in a lot of their visual work. Their shows are inclusive of everybody. You could see it every which way you turned. A beautiful feeling.
Maskin then tells us it’s ‘covers’ time. She is very excited by this. The other band members question this but as Gaskin leads Paramore’s Bring Me To Life the crowd go crazy. Yes, Josette! Thank You! Then they ‘go all LA,’ as Gaskin tells the crowd that we have been amazing singing along to every single word but if there was a time to really make our voices heard that time was now, as Loudspeaker literally booms into an explosive performance that at the end make all those at the front, reach and grab the stage décor of roses.
Thursday 30th March was the second night of this whistle stop trip. The crowd gathered early again and the queue seemed to have grown quicker than Tuesday and with the heat wave outside, it seems no one was taking chances inside as the aircon was full blast as we entered.
Electro dance rockers, Otzeki opened with a promising set but then technical hitches came and cousins Mike and Joel laughed it off between them and the show went on…with more technical hitches and dancing in the middle of the crowd, which was very entertaining. In parts it seemed a bit long but in all it was a fine performance to most of the crowd.
It seemed to be a more relaxed crowd, in that people were not pushing against each other but as lights went down and the music started the jumping started within the first second. Noticeably Gavin even dressed ready to sweat and gone was her oversized T-shirt and in place was a bikini top.
All members took notice again of the sell out crowd and asked if they were any returners – only a few hands went up – everybody in the know wanted to be there and some wanted to be there again and it seemed like Gavin, McPherson and Maskin could not quite believe it. The energy that was there on the first night was here but with just that bit more intensity and that little bit more loudly but both were just as energetic. There did seem to be less banter on stage though but by watching each member you could still feel the chemistry between them, even with McPherson hidden from me behind the synths this time. The new songs went down just as well as the first night and the crowd and the vocals to Bring Me To Life seemed to go up a notch. All words for every song from the album were sung back with passion. What was not noticeable though was that every member on that stage was sick. Many knew this was the case for Gavin but even with this and all the smiles back and forth it seemed they were on top form, even when they all come to the front of the stage for the second verse of Loudspeaker. How anyone was left standing after that performance with all the energy given is beyond me and with two shows in such a sweaty environment – let’s just say, and I quote, “something massive happened here” and all those posters that were plastered over Hoxton Square were gone BOTH nights.
Date: 15 May 2017
Venue: The Sebright Arms, East London
Words and photography: Steph Baker
Lately, it seems that only once in a blue moon do you come across a band that not only pleasantly surprises you, but also manages to genuinely captivate a pub basement full of unsuspecting 9-to-5ers on a Monday evening. Tonight the Sebright Arms was graced with Middle Kids, the Sydney-based trio composed of Harry, drummer and bringer of all energy; Tim, the perpetually mysterious dude strumming in the corner, and the truly uplifting presence of front-woman Hannah. You know when you saunter into a gig not really knowing what to expect with a mate after work and then after hearing one chorus you realise you’re in exactly the right place, witnessing something really quite exciting? Yeah, that was what happened tonight.
Many indie groups of late seem attached to the idea that in order to be the coolest kids around, you’ve got to strip back all personality from your live set, and look as angsty and misunderstood as possible. Sure, it’s a fine act for the first ten minutes, but it was refreshing to see a new band not give a shit about that and instead concentrate on making genuine connections being made with the crowd throughout their set. The authenticity in what they are doing and what they’re trying to achieve is clear. Recent hits such as ‘Edge Of Town’ and ‘Never Start’ nonchalantly tell their wise stories and bleed out bittersweet memories while also creating an infectious and simply fun vibe around the room. One song is all you need to both get out deeply-hidden frustration into the open, and also ready your care-free self to get pleasantly drunk on a Summer’s day – I reckon that’s the idea anyway.
And then we have tracks such as ‘Old River’ and ‘Your Love’, touching on more emotive confessions and melancholy moments. Middle Kids manage to seamlessly transport you from delicate moments of contemplation into dizzy whirlwinds of power and pounding guitar riffs, without blinking an eye. It’s no wonder that music royalty, Sir Elton John has passed on his seal of approval to this group ahead of their debut album – which the crowd were understandably excited to hear about. We also got to witness Hannah perform a solo track, which showcased her powerhouse vocal range and ability to fill the room with only one instrument and a set of very raw lyrics.
The final few songs of tonight, which included the new track ‘Mistake’ brought the crowd a stirring mix of easy-going folk-pop and spontaneous melodic madness. With a taste of what’s to come with the debut album, this Aussie trio is surely one to watch and definitely one to seek out live, whether it’s around Europe, or Down Under.
Release date: 10 March 2017
Genre: Experimental blues/folk
Rating: ★★★ 1/2
Words by: Scott Murray
With such an emphasis on production in the modern era, vocals have seemingly fallen to the back burner. This is not the case for Perth’s Cameron Avery. His debut album ‘Ripe Dreams, Pipe Dreams’ is a truly beautiful offering thanks to Avery’s transcendent vocals, with the entire album highlighting vocal qualities reminiscent of Jeff Buckley. This, paired with Avery’s poignant lyrics of longing and loss, create a dramatic vocal landscape.
That is not to say that Avery’s production suffers as a result, to the contrary Avery has created a striking instrumental landscape filled with sounds not of the modern age. His use of strings, horns and even an organ is shockingly refreshing in an industry filled with synths, and generic drum beats.
This old school sound shines in the albums fifth track, ‘Big Town Girl’, a soulful ode to Jane, the girl running circles in Avery’s brain. Avery drives this home in the song’s forth verse.
“You know I’ve never had the time to wait around for a dame, but if I knew that we could make it I’d wait around for Jane”.
The track begins with a swell of an organ before being joined by thoughtful guitar and minimalistic percussion. Avery’s voice then cuts through the instrumentals in what feels like an instant, but lasts in your ear for far longer.
A standout of this track is the pain in Avery’s voice, constantly oozing his longing and eventually his loss. These two themes can be heard throughout the record, no more so than when Avery croons “Could I suit her better, than that dark blue sweater? Probably not.”
There isn’t a tune on the record that manages to escape Avery’s titanic wave of despair, every track dips its toe into the deep pool of Avery’s pining. This coupled with Avery’s seeming opposition to contemporary sound has allowed Avery a unique opportunity to let his lyrics to take the fore.
However, there are tracks that seem entirely independent of this sound. The album’s third track ‘Dance With Me’ highlights this through its neo-western sound, similar to that of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds track ‘Red Right Hand’.
As well as this there are tracks that give glimpses of Avery’s psych rock pedigree. Avery, Tame Impala’s touring bassist and a former member of Pond, briefly lets his roots show in the album’s two busiest tracks ‘The Cry of Captain Hollywood’, an entirely instrumental track that is as rousing as it is peaceful, and ‘Watch Me Take It Away’.
Watch Me Take It Away begins with pulsing, almost sitar-esc guitar before the track takes flight with a swarm of rhythmic clapping and heavy short bursts of guitar and rapid fire percussion. This ensemble becomes a tapestry that allows Avery to highlight his range whilst also allowing his powerful lyrics to shine. The track follows Avery’s growth as he grasps that he need not waste his time on relationships without mutual respect, starting the third verse with the glass shattering realisation that his time is as important as anyone else’s. “I aint got time for your perversions, I spend my time transcribing versions of the truth”.
Overall the album is musically undefinable, and yet astoundingly beautiful. There is something ethereal about Cameron Avery’s voice that creates a sense of hope, despite the distinct sense of loss seen through almost all of his lyrics. This is a fantastic first effort from a talent that has been hidden behind a bass guitar for far too long.
Release Date: 24 March 2017
Words by: Martina Di Gregorio
Ariana Di Lorenzo, or as she is most known as Ariana & The Rose, has finally released her first EP ‘Retrograde’, after teasing fans with the singles ‘Love You Lately’ and ‘Supercool’. Retrograde is coming out as the perfect embodiment of a young woman coming to terms with who she is. Originally from New York, Ariana is based in London and has been working to create a sound that truly represents herself; this album is full of powerful electro-pop anthems that would work to get anyone dancing while fully grasping the depth of both the highs and the lows of love through her vocals and powerful use of synths.
‘How Does That Make You Feel’ is the first single off this EP. Starting with a falsetto, Ariana’s voice engages the listener even before the percussions and synths jump in. The use of percussions intertwined with harmonies bring a whole new level of depth to the song. The song tells the relatable tale of a passionate love, and it is a good start to the EP, as Ariana’s voice and her ability to use her voice and as a diverse instrument instantly charms the listener.
‘Love You Lately’ released earlier this year has the power to make you emotional thinking about a lost love. The song played with the duo RKCB is an electro-R&B song that talks about a relationship ending. Ariana’s voice completely embodies the feelings of someone that is in a relationship but doesn’t love her partner anymore. This song shows a more serious side of Ariana, as well as her flexibility to go from a dance song to an R&B songs. The background beat gives a great rhythm to the song while Ariana and RKCB since “I don’t understand why you push away” and “I guess I don’t love you lately”.
‘These Ruins’ has a slow beginning, with Ariana’s deeper voice accompanied by a low keyboard that is emphasized through different electronic instrumentation. The song describes a love that cannot be repaired, emphasized by a slow, melancholic, dark, creating a new universe where the melody gets more dramatic with every verse. Her voice has the capacity of perfectly encompasses the emotions of a tragic love, with her voice breaking at the end of the bridge. The roughness of the melody and the darker synths, as well her echoed voice that gets overpowered by the background vocals and drums gives a new dimension to the song, which ends with her tired voice and the keyboard again. This track takes you through all the emotions felt after the end of a love.
‘Supercool’ is the last song of the EP, and it goes on a different path by describing the partying in New York, with the use of electro beats. The song describes the reality behind the glamour of New York by describing a woman that is so beautiful and charming at a party, but looks like their lives could be falling apart any second.The falsetto voice, backing vocals and electro beats come back once again to show a whole new side of New York.
Ariana & The Rose’s EP embodies the journey of love and loss through the use of synths and a sound that is heavily inspired by Robyn and Goldfrapp, but still keeping a sense of originality. ‘Retrograde’ proves Ariana’s flexibility and ability to use her lyrics and melody to create a journey of emotions that can completely engross the listener and spark past memories and a world of feelings.
Ariana is renowned for her live shows, especially the immersive Light and Space, which was first done in London in 2016 based on 80s disco scene. She has created another world and this EP is the first step to gaining more visibility and showing a new side of the synth-pop world.
Date: 16th March 2017.
Venue: Cluny 2, Newcastle
Words and Photography: Victoria Ling
North East newcomers, Katsi started the night bringing their haunting harmonies with a few original numbers and selected covers of Fleetwood Mac, Britney Spears and TLC. With Katsi’s interesting mix of minimal guitars and carefully constructed vocal layers, this could be a duo to watch out for.
I was quite anxious for the next support as I had heard great things about their music and even met them but and never actually seen what they could do. What was to come? Would it be an anti-climax or would I like them as much as those who had recommended them so highly? Mat Hunsley is the artist in question and he was everything we wanted and more. He begins solo and then his set becomes “instantly happier” as drums and bass join him – his words not mine! With both set-ups he was captivating as he performed a set of original folk material with an indie undertone.
Having seen Natalie McCool on her last tour on the back of a successful Pledge Music campaign for her magical debut album ‘The Great Unknown’, I was very excited to hear she was coming back to Newcastle to coincide with the release of her single ‘You & I’. McCool oozes stage presence wherever she goes and with drummer Laura and keys player James added to the mix, there’s that extra bit of fierceness to the set up. Kicking off with the energetic ‘Magnet’ sets the tone of the night and with a slight technical hitch early in the set of tangled wires before her poppiest song of the night, ‘Cardiac Arrest’, McCool still has it under control and the audience still engaged. I mean if you don’t loose your shit getting tangled in wires and pulling out your mic, you have a lot to be admired for. Even with the slight confusion over the set list, everything is calm and the show goes on. This is what I love about Natalie McCool live and with the company of her band on stage – the joy and chemistry between them is so genuine. Everything is free flowing and everything is so real. These little hitches make YOU feel more engaged so when the songs about Natalie’s exes are performed you feel like she has caught that bit of you in the performance…. that is if you have had an ex!
Highlights of the night were definitely ‘Sorry Sight’, a new song and ‘Feel Good’, from the album. Sorry Sight has a slight touch of Florence and The Machine as Natalie’s vocals do some impressive acrobatics. We are told it might get a release and if it does I will be the one shouting about it. Feel Good is a personal favourite. Great on the album but when you witness it live, it is like an out-of-body experience – you can feel that guitar, those drums and the keys just get under every part of your skin. Basically, everything you want to feel at a live gig whatever the genre of music – Feel Good is one of those few moments for me. Then Natalie tells us ‘Fortress’ is going to get a release soon with an added choir. Can you imagine that performed live? Brilliant with this three-piece set up but add that choir and I might just loose it when I next see Natalie McCool live, as I was on the verge of it this night.
Through the eyes of Lil Vik
Date: 13 April 2017
Venue: The Green Door Store, Brighton
Genre: Alternative Rock
If there’s one thing we love, it is the showcasing of authentic and interesting talent in independent music venues, and Bushmills ® Irish Whiskey have announced that it is launching a nationwide tour to do just that featuring: We Are Scientists, The Magic Gang, VANT and The Wytches.
‘The Bushmills Tour’ is part of the #AnswerTheCall campaign that aims to showcase creators, artists, entrepreneurs from the music industry and beyond to showcase their talents and inspire others to fulfil their true calling. The Music Venue Trust have reported an estimated 40% of music venues closing in the past 10 years – which sucks – so here, Bushmills are aiming to celebrate these iconic venues that remain the lifeblood of the UK music scene – which is great!
One of the UK’s most impressive new bands, The Magic Gang are going to be kicking off this tour at the Green Door Store in Brighton next month as part of this tour. With irresistible tunes such as ‘How Can I Compete‘, and ‘Jasmine‘ are sure to be lashed out to the budding Brighton crowd, and with the Summer just about on the horizon, now is the perfect time to get a glimpse into what the festival favourites are going to have in store.
It is bands such as The Magic Gang that are so important within alternative music (no matter what flavour of alternative is the one for you) as they are continuing to emphasise the importance of independent music venues as well as the huge sweeping festival fields and stadium halls. So yeah, it’s pretty important and it’s gonna be pretty cool.
Tickets for the full tour are now available through Dice
See you at The Green Door Store next month!
Release date: 2 March 2017
Genre: Action Drama
Words by: Dan Tull
2017 is shaping up to be a mammoth year for the superhero genre. A total of six superhero films are due this year, along with countless TV series. From an avid fan of this genre, even for myself this is rapidly approaching the over-saturation point. Nowadays just to watch a Marvel or DC film you need to have done some significant homework to understand what’s going on, which in Marvel’s case involves trawling through almost ten years of film history. Whilst I understand and appreciate the idea of films that are related within a shared universe, films should still be able to stand alone and be fully experienced by viewers who are new to the shared universe. Logan is a respectable rarity in its ability to achieve this.
It is my belief, and one that many others share, that these films are soon going to lose the interest of people. There are simply too many coming out every year for the casual viewer to differentiate between them. Whilst some innovations and creative leaps are made on occasion (Deadpool, Doctor Strange), others still fall into the same boring rehash of a plot we’ve seen hundreds of times.
So when it came to Logan, the third solo Wolverine film and tenth overall X-Men film, I was something of a skeptic. The X-Men series has never been consistent, and while on the whole I’d say they were good, there are many that aren’t. In fact, remember the first Wolverine solo film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine? It arguably stands as one of the worst comic-book adaptations ever made.
However, with all of the above in mind, Logan categorically succeeds to satisfy and impress. The film requires no previous knowledge of other films in the series. Yes, it does call back to previous vents but the viewer does not need to have seen them to understand the context. Everything you need from this film is contained within.
This is perhaps the most refreshing superhero film I’ve seen since the Dark Knight. Logan isn’t weighed down by having to reconcile a while cinematic universe worth of plot details and it isn’t focused on crafting a franchise beyond itself. It is a self-contained story that excels in developing its own plot, setting and most importantly; characters.
The chemistry between Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Stephen Merchant (cast superbly as albino mutant Caliban) is totally believable, as a weary and senile Professor X struggles to stay lucid while Logan and Caliban desperately try to care for him. This triad of characters serves as our hub for the first third. The action really kicks off when we are introduced to eleven year old Laura (played by Dafne Keen). Despite having barely any dialogue, Laura is a welcome addition who brings about a contrasting flare to the story line. Keen is able to communicate precisely how Laura is feeling and what she is going through, purely with facial ticks and body language.
Logan is of course an R-Rated film. This was a cause of concern to many fans, who thought that since the success of Deadpool (another R-Rated X-Men film), this was simply an effort to cash on that. This is not the case. Logan uses brutality inherent in the Wolverine character to devastating effect. His claws slice through limbs and skulls with all the gory details exposed and laid bare. It doesn’t look glamorous like Wolverine may have in past outings. It feel visceral, savage and painfully real.
I tremendously enjoyed the first two thirds, which the final act lagged a bit in it’s set-up, the ending certainly makes for a welcome change in superhero movies. There’s no CGI filled cluster-fuck with a thousand things going on at once. Logan doesn’t face a giant silver robot with a samurai sword. Instead, the final battle is set in some woods with all the tension and drama coming from the stakes, which the first two thirds have carefully built up.
If there is one fault I have with this film, it falls into SPOILERS so read on at your own discretion.
The ‘big bad’ of this film is a perfect clone of Logan, played by a de-aged Hugh Jackman. Whilst I feel that the film portrayed this version of Logan as a manacing, beastial threat, I couldn’t help bu remember the last time Wolverine fought a version of himself in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and it made me quite sad and disappointed.
SPOILERS END HERE
Logan for its minor faults is a tremendous film. It has completely bucked the superhero formula and makes for a deeply emotional journey that tells the ultimate Wolverine story. Standout performances from Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Stephen Merchant make the whole thing believable, something that is desperately needed within this genre at the moment. I hope that more directors view this as an example of wonderful storytelling within a superhero universe.
Make sure to give the latest X-Men film a chance and watch it at your local
Venue: Slaughtered Lamb, London
Words and Photography by: Victoria Ling
Samuel Jack returned to Slaughtered Lamb to celebrate the release of his single ‘Surrender’ on the back of his last visit here last October – come show time, there was a buzz in the air as this artist is slowly but surely making a name for himself with all of the radio airplay he has been getting.
Giorgia-May, a petite Neo-Soul Jazz artist with a big personality kicked off the night and got most of the crowd fixated on her set. In fact, at one point, the eager listeners at the front had to silence the late-comers joining the night, as May is someone that, given the chance, will stop you in your tracks to take note, especially with her song ‘I Want You,’ that has a Corrine Bailey-Rae vibe to it. Besides this niche comparison, May definitely stands out on her own and in her short support slot impressed the audience leaving the room full of even more anticipation for tonight’s headliner.
As the room fills, and the first notes on the keyboard start, the audience are ready and as Samuel steps onto the stage, his band are already in full swing. ‘Making It Rain’ is a tremendous opener. As the title suggests, it is quite the stormy affair, and the audience were now pretty much huddled in for the rest of the night. A few new numbers make the set list, such as ‘Refugee’, which Samuel describes as a tale about current issues of the world. Hearing this live really does cut into the soul, you can really feel the message within these passionate vocals especially when he sings, “where are you now?”.
If you have been to a Samuel Jack gig before, you’ll know a certain cover song always seems to make the set list, and despite him wanted to steer away from them, the opening chords of Coolio’s ‘Gangster’s Paradise’ always sends the audience into hysteria. During this moment, the audience are singing word for word and at one point are even stealing the lead vocal spotlight. This passion and crowd engagement is what makes every Samuel Jack performance so memorable. If it is not for a sing-along, they engage with your mind, body and soul. This is also reflected in the moment when he finally performs what we’ve all been waiting for, ‘Surrender’. And, boy, is the crowd ready to SING. When the chorus kicks in, it’s like the choir has come to town as the audience are immediately on their feet and clapping into euphoria. When ending a set on such a high, there has to be an encore and of course, Samuel cannot resist as he sings two numbers including last year’s EP title track, ‘Let It All Out’ which only escalated the audience’s choir-esque flow, leaving us all with a sense of satisfaction for the night.
Check out his music here.
Through the eyes of Lil Vik
Date: 8 February 2017
Venue: The Sevant Jazz Quarters
Words and photography: Victoria Ling
After Norma Jean Martine’s show at Servant Jazz Quarters in January SOLD OUT within hours of going on sale, a second date was added for the following month which unsurprisingly also sold out due to the venue’s intimate close quarters perfect for a peaceful evening such as tonight.
Liverpudlian country singer Laura Oakes opens the show immediately and her distinct echoes around the room draw in the early comers to the front. She was accompanied by a fellow guitarist and the onstage chemistry between the two echoed to her interaction with the crowd. How can you not be taken in with a Laura Oakes performance? Originals like ‘Better in Blue Jeans’ and ‘Snakes & Ladders’ had the audience captivated, as did the wonderful rendition of Elton John’s classic ‘Rocket Man’ as she induced her unique country twist onto it.
There was a very relaxed atmosphere as Martine took to the stage. Many people gathered like they were having a reunion -this is the beauty of music. This is the beauty of Norma Jean Martine – bringing many people together for just a few hours while witnessing her brilliancy as she opened her set with the stomping ‘Animals’. When she performed the track ‘Angels On My Shoulders’ there were whoops from the audience as this was a live exclusive, although a few similar faces from her January date nodded knowingly as they knew this was happening for the second time. Such a heart-warming song and definitely one of hope considering the direction the world is taking! These first two numbers have Martine centre stage with the mic grasped tightly in her hand and her band lending their support with Gary on cajon, Rick on guitar and Eddie on keyboards, but for ‘I Want You To Want Me’ and ‘Hang My Hat’ the lady of the night showcases her own keyboard talents and steps into Eddie’s place bringing the audience to a standstill. She then turned to the guitar for ‘Only In My Mind’, the title track to her debut album. Martine seems very relaxed on this night and makes the audience laugh with her heartwarming stories, including that this song is about her crazy thoughts that are only in her mind. As she introduces ‘Welcome Stranger’ she jokes for those of us not on dates maybe we actually are but we do not know it yet. Could Norma Jean Martine be anymore endearing? The answer is more than likely yes as she takes back to the keyboards running through the rest of the set before the penultimate ‘No Gold’. An encore is penned in but she jokingly points out that Servant Jazz Quarters is so small that there is no point is stepping off stage for it. No Gold was, as with the whole night, performed to perfection, with the audience singing as well as moving along too, with every centimetre they could find to move around.
‘I’m Still Here’ was the final track and as soon as she got up from behind the keyboard the audience jokingly chanted for more. Gary and Rick get up to exit the stage and Eddie rejoins on keyboards and after a few introductions and giggles, the crowd finally settle back down as she sings this ‘special’ song about her Dad after a song-writing session with Burt Bacharach. The room is silenced during ‘I’m Still Here’ as the audience hang on her every note ,bringing a close to a most intimate but relaxed gig.
You can also let Norma serenade you here, you won’t regret it
Through the eyes of Lil Vik