LIVE REVIEW. Natalie McCool at The Cluny 2 with Katsi and Mat Hunsley

Date: 16th March 2017.
Venue: Cluny 2, Newcastle
Genre: Alt-pop
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.

unnamed (5)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.

 


Make sure to check out Natalie McCool’s new single You & I here. You can also follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 

Through the eyes of Lil Vik

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