Turning up frightfully early for a gig has become a forte of mine recently, I’m starting to wonder if it’s worth just going the whole hog and being there for soundcheck. After a quick burger and a pint at the closest Wetherspoons I could find, I had a stroll down to The Old Queen’s Head, flanked by two of my fellow journalism buddies. We got ourselves settled into the booth in the back corner of the room, as all the cool kids do, and sat down for 3 bands that provided one of the most enjoyable evenings of entertainment I’ve had in a rather long time. (Side note – there were actually 4 bands on the bill but as the headliners had a vocalist who didn’t seem to understand what being in tune was I’ve neglected to include them here)
When Hymns took the stage we were a little apprehensive, they were a perfect example of why you should never judge a book by its cover. I’m not generally a big fan of seeing laptops on stage but the duo used their technological knowledge well, combining prepared sounds with some scorching live guitar licks and a voice that could rival any of the likes of Bjork, Florence or [insert third powerful singer here to complete rule of three]. Someone told me that this was their first gig and, if my sources are correct, this was almost certainly the best first outing I’ve ever seen from a band. I look forward to the next one.
Following these young upstart was a firm favourite of mine, the ever-reliable Daisy Victoria. I think I’m now onto my second hand when counting up the number of live shows that Daisy has absolutely thrilled me at, this latest performance may have taken a little longer than usual to get really going but by the time she closed the set with the always perfect ‘Macbeth Is My Lady‘ (sadly enough my current ringtone) she had the crowd eating out of the palm of her hand. The guitars and synths were once more impressive and on-point, the new addition behind the kit was a jazz-infused fit and the bass licks were delivered with that same wonderful tone that keeps me coming back for more.
Headlining the night (essentially) were the exciting, confident sounds of JOLTA who managed to summon up enough energy to power the whole of Islington for a few weeks at least. With a vocal delivery that was more on point than most you’ll come across on the London music scene, the sounds filled the air within an instant as the sheer force of the music pushed you right back up against the wall. From start to finish they were strong enough to lift the Atlas Stones (any World’s Strongest Man fans out there? No?) and the passion that all four of them had for the music they were making was plain to see.
If you ever get the chance to go out and see any of these acts, grasp it with both hands. You won’t be sorry.