LIVE REVIEW. Middle Kids at Sebright Arms, London

Date: 15 May 2017
Venue: The Sebright Arms, East London
Genre: Indie-pop
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.

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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.

 


Check out the debut EP here and give them some love on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

Baker out.

 

 

 

 

 

LIVE REVIEW. Martha Hill live at The Cumberland Arms

Date: 18/02/17

Venue: The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle.

Genre: Alt folk/blues

Words and photography by: Victoria Ling


One girl. One cello. Ceitidh Mac instantly silences the room as she takes to the strings and held us there for her full set that included a cover of John Martyn’sOver The Hill’. Cietidh is an artist that engages with her audience to a point that they are hesitant to move in case of unwanted disruption or missing a second of the performance. What an attentive audience…well at least for the opening act.

Hailing all the way from the North West in Manchester and joining the tour in the North East of Newcastle is Pip Fluteman (with fellow musician James on guitar and fiddle) This duo followed on from Ceitidh and brought something entirely different to the stage. Pip has us laughing and in some parts of his set and goes as far as declaring James as single which is met with some of the audience getting straight onto Tinder. It’s quite refreshing really how effortless Pip’s stage presence it, his performance is on point but the real connection with the audience comes from his talks in between songs, he’s really not afraid to drop a few jokes in here and there. His explanations of songs such as Dandelion Days’ and ‘She Was The Circus’ has the audience laughing, but also struck with admiration as his set is delivered with passion and clear brilliance.

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It was finally time for the main act of the evening, with the room now at full capacity and many being turned away at the door.  Martha Hill is becoming quite a name and definitely has a following here in the North East, as soon as she stepped onto the stage and opened with ‘Reborn’, you could feel the electricity fill the room. As a photographer, it became increasingly hard as every inch of the floor was taken up by everyone who was lucky enough to get a ticket. The third number of the set, ‘Traveller,’ sees the return of Ceitidh and the addition of Shannon on the keys, both creeping quietly onto the stage whilst front woman, Martha plays on. Everyone is so consumed that it is like the appeared from nowhere as all eyes and ears are fixated on center stage. Martha herself goes from the guitar to the drums and in doing so becomes quite theatrical and majestic. The crowd does become more animated in their engagement with a few cheers here and there while also remaining attentive with a roar of appreciation for ‘Blue Moon’, her debut single released just before Christmas. It is ‘Boom’ however that brings in the audience participation of a few finger clicks that go with the song.

As Martha and her band exit the stage you could still feel an electric buzz from the audience. By the look on Martha’s face, it is like she simply cannot believe this reaction.  Martha takes a spot on the stage by herself and treats the audience with a final song, an old folk classic of the North called ‘Geordie’. This seems fitting considering Martha has become an adoptive Geordie and this night on the Newcastle leg of her tour – a great homage to both the artist and the audience.


Make sure to check out Martha Hill’s single ‘Blue Moon‘ on Soundcloud now.

You can also catch her live in Edinburgh on 16 March. Check out her Facebook and Website for updates.

 

Through the eyes of Lil Vik

 

 

SINGLE REVIEW. Siboney + Andy – Secret

Release date: Out now!

Genre: Pop-Folk

Rating: ★★★1/2

Siboney + Andy recently joined forces, along with their influences and styles to create this debut EP, encompassing a variety of pop/folk/electro vibes. This title track of the EP certainly makes a statement and ensures their names will not be easily forgotten.

With a delicate opening, Siboney tells a painful tail, supposedly from personal experience. The opening verse could be claimed to be predictable, but as the bridge builds up, Siboney’s voice steps up before delivering a powerful blow with the lyrics “I will keep this sib-and-andy-02-lowres1secret ’till I die” during the chorus. With a blaring electric riff accompanying the voice, a new level of passion is brought to this track. The second verse is more playful as the due get settled into what they’re doing, with electro-pop synths coupled with folk-y vocals
and guitar, this is a creative song showcasing what it is Siboney + Andy are capable of. As Andy emerges into the track not only as a producer but a vocalist, the track gets that bit warmer. It is at this moment you can see why the due work so well together, as their voices intertwine to create a pop/electro-pop juxtaposition.

The music video for this track brings a visual element to better explain the journey this track takes. The pair describe the following: “The lyrics in Secret are quite literal, and pull from rather painful self-experience, so we wanted to hint at that feeling within the video, but let people come to their own conclusions within the narrative.”

 

Check out the music video for Sectret and follow Siboney and Andy’s journey:


Check out the debut EP ‘Secret’ here.

You can also find Siboney + Andy on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

 

 

Baker out.

INTRODUCING SAM WINSTON – The ultimate DIY artist with self produced album ‘The Fire & The Icicle’

Genre: Indie-folk pop

Rating:★★★★

Sam Winston encompasses all meanings of the word ‘independent’ regarding his music. This South East London artist is building up his career one DIY milestone at a time. Not only has he written, arranged, recorded and produced ‘The Fire & The Icicle‘ all in his home-built studio, but he has done it well – an achievemt that is becoming quite hard to find these days. With self-taught expertise in many an instrument, this debut album is not just the typical solo acoustic guitar act that is becoming tireless now, we get to hear Sam play ukelele, kalimba (African thumb piano), mandolin and bass.  The album also features folk-pop melodies strummed from his own hand-crafted electro-acoustic guitar (what is this guy like?!).

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The album starts off with the firey, energetic track ‘No November Like It‘, the type of song that could make for the perfect track to sing along to on a roadtrip  in the summer. Tracks such as ‘Reach You‘ and ‘Defenceless‘ showcase Sam’s ability to create a huge vocal sound and range, with self-matching harmonies and layers. Meanwhile, songs such as ‘Stand and Fight‘ and ‘The Bad Wolf‘ take a softer, more delicate style, with influences of Ben Howard shining through while bringing an original ‘Sam Winston’ jazzy undertone. ‘Who Decides?’ is a moment of self-realisation for Sam, where he questions everything and everyone around him, hopefully by the end of this album, he comes to realise how much hope and potential there is in him – Some hopeful light within the dark, just as the album artwork indicates.


Let the wonderful Sam Winston serenade you here:

(Also out now on iTunes, Soundcloud and Spotify)

You can also check him out on facebook and twitter

 

See him do his thing live at the following dates:

25 July – Charente Festival, Brossac France

27 August – Folk On The Dock Festival, Liverpool

23 October – Park Langley, Beckenham, Kent


All images: Courtesy of Sam Winston 

Baker out.