Four bands and artists, one I love and three I’ve never seen before, let alone heard anything by them – I love hearing new bands and artists. So it’s yet another yummy line-up from 360 Club.
This gig is not a headliner and supports thing, all the bands are kinda equally billed. The order I’ve put them in in the title just reflects the order they came in (in reverse order).
So first up are a band I’d not even heard of before – Shades. And why hadn’t I seen them before, this band are great, right here, right now I’m going to urge you to see this band live as soon as you can.
It’s a kind of jazz-funky thing, a jazz-funky thing with hints of pop and hints of rock. And as their first song goes on, suddenly there is something that is what I’d basically call jazz-rock, there is some – if you’ll forgive the expression – hot hot lead guitar. Boy can that guy play.
Yet this is a band who can the sweetest sweetest music as their second song shows, it’s delicate and has a tune to die for. And for that matter their third shows that again, it has a kind of late night soul feel to it – nice. Prone, as Shades are, to breaking into fits of jazz-rockiness, this works, it’s not at all abrupt, it’s seamless. there is a progressive build in their songs.
Doing that ‘objective music reviewer thing’ this is a band who know their chops, they can really play. The vocals are great. Although sometimes, and this isn’t the band’s fault, I found them a little bit too far back in the mix. This may of course just be me. I really wanted to hear those vocals because they were fantastic.
They ended – at least I think I remember this being their last song – with something jaw-droppingly good. It’s a kinda soulful alt-rock thing, it does that quiet/loud thing. It postively burns people.
As I said at the top, go see this band, you won’t be disappointed.
I had been stupidly excited about seeing Everyday People (and as I write this I still feel that excitement), for this is the first time I’ve ever seen them play as a full band. And yes, I know I’m a huge fan of the band, and you’d have expected me to have seen them before they lost two members, but for reasons I can’t explain I’ve never managed to see the full band experience before.
They caught me unawares, completely bloody off-balance, by opening their set with ‘Princess Blues’. You’re probably bored of me saying this but this is one of my favourite all time songs. The full band live performance is richer than the stripped back live performances I’ve heard before but it’s completely fabulous. Maeve’s vocals are as sweet as ever. And yes, a tear did spring to my eyes, this song does that to me.
‘It’s Complicated’ follows, and I am dancing as I take photographs, it’s hard to resist some sort of moves to this. And with the full band it demands that. I do the ‘bad music reviewer thing’ and just let their music take me, I fail to take notes. But Everyday People do that. Their music is just so good, so compelling. And Maeve’s voice is just a joy.
I come briefly to my senses right at the end of the set for their current release ‘Small Islands’. By this time I am so focussed on the band and their music that I feel I’m alone in that room. While the music takes me somewhere idyllic and safe. I love this song, and live, it’s better, it comes across with more emotion.
I’m going to be accused of gushing, but I’m a fan (and this is allowed, it’s one of those unwritten music reviewers’ rules, we’re allowed to be fans, OK?). But Everyday People have shone out ever since they asked me to review the first single from them I reviewed. Their songs are really well put together and boy can they play. The live experience is one I can recommend you get for yourself. I can’t wait for my next fix.
Before I go on I should perhaps warn you that I’m somewhat on the fence about the next two acts. It’s not that I didn’t like them at all, indeed if anything I’m leaning heavily towards really liking what they do. It’s just that neither of them do what I might refer to as ‘the usual sort of thing I like’. This happens to us all I think, we hear a new artist or band and think ‘Hmmm, I like some of it, perhaps most of it, but I really need to see them again to really get them’. That’s how I feel about Link Lewis and ADMT. Although I liked Link Lewis more, I had more of a connection with his music. I’m therefore going to try to be as objective as possible. That said, let’s get to it.
Link Lewis is a man with a keyboard, a laptop, and somewhat bizarrely a saxophone. Why I found a saxophone bizarre I have no idea, perhaps I just wasn’t expecting to see one. What he also has is a voice, a special kind of voice.
I didn’t get that voice thing until his first song, and then I got it big time. That first song has soul and sounds organic. It doesn’t sound like a man playing keyboards over a backing track. And with that voice that makes it. For his second song he employs THAT sax, and this is a great thing. He really can play it.
I liked most of his set, I really liked the sound. It’s a kinda late-night soul vibe, and it’s smooth, so smooth. But the problem was that some things just didn’t do it for me. It isn’t that objectively I didn’t understand that his songs are really well written, sung and played, it’s just that I didn’t quite connect emotionally. Some of this may be that I was distracted by taking photos as well as trying to put my somewhat chaotic thoughts about the music into some sort of sensible order. It’s hard connecting with a new artist playing a sort of music that you don’t usually go for, when you’re trying to review them.
I hope I’ve made it clear that I know what he does is great. In fact since that Friday I’ve suggested to friends I know who really like the sort of thing he does, as something they should go and see. It’s that, for me, I need to see him again, preferably undistracted by taking photos and notes, to really get into it.
So ADMT is completely new to me, I’d never even heard of him before tonight’s gig. Unlike most of the crowd who were really into him. The first problem I have is that I have not the slightest idea quite how to describe what he does. The closest I can come is to say his songs are kinda RnB-ish vocals over a really sparse synth and guitar backing. I may be completely wrong but what he does is something I really don’t usually go for.
So let’s put up-front the things I really liked about ADMT. Firstly his voice, his voice is brilliant. And secondly the arrangements, I really liked the way that sparse backing let his voice shine through.
One of the set highlights for me was Link Lewis joining them to play a song ADMT had written with him. Lovely stuff.
However, it’s here that my second problem raises its head. ADMT does a form of music I just don’t understand. Somehow that voice connected emotionally on some sort of level but I don’t have that understanding of the way those songs are put together. I really needed just to stand and watch and listen, and let it wash over me. When I did that I started to get into it.
Standing back ‘objectively’ I got that what he does is great, I know that. It’s just that on a subjective personal level I need to see him again to really get what he does. I have a feeling that if I do that I’m going to end up loving what he does.
All photos on this page © Frank Roper Photography – see more photos from the night on his Facebook Page