Grouper – ‘Ruins’ | Album Review

It has been about twenty months since Portland artist and producer Liz Harris or more commonly known in music as Grouper, released her critical acclaimed The Man Who Died In His Boat album, and now she is back with a brand new exceptionally different record titled Ruins, that is a real stretch away from previous works. That being said, one factor still remains clear throughout the eight solitary tracks is that her voice is still as haunting, textured as ever before if not more so.

Some of Harris’ previous works including 2008′s incongruously titled album Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill and of course last year’s The Man Who Died In His Boat, which were both put together from the same recordings and received similar praise. These offerings come layered in darkness and intriguing depression, however as soon as you delve deep into her intimate, textured tone, the appeal of Grouper’s sound becomes overwhelming. However these past records have relied on endless acoustic based, guitar and vocal-centred, droning records with feedback and production techniques to pave her way, but on Ruins, the entire aesthetic of her compositions have altered and you hear Harris stationed at a piano for the entire record.

Ruins was recorded in the South of Portugal back in 2011, and is a documentation of Harris in her surroundings, and instead of what we have become familiar with, Ruins sees Harris bare it all. There is nothing unseen or unheard, you can hear background noises serendipitously captured including cicadas on several tracks, a typical Southern European storm on songs “Holofernes” and “Holding” which create natural percussion, and at the end of “Labyrinth“, there is a very clear microwave beep.

All these features add embellishments that help mould the album to its full potential, creating a raw, honest and beautiful record that allows the listener to enter her musical journey, making Ruins even more intimate and simply real. As a listener, it helps you to imagine every story told, as you feel like you are there with her in a little rustic old cottage in Portugal, with beaten up floorboards and dusty shutters, as themes of the album begin to surface and bare themselves, which is what Harris has done – bared her soul.

There has never been a question as to Harris’s vocal capabilities, but in Ruins, her lyrics are what stand out and become the real beauty of the songs, as they have never been so clearly perceptive, nor have they been so focused around love. This lyrical talent is highlighted so brilliantly on the first track “Clearing” where Harris whispers breathtaking lines,

maybe you were right when you said I’d never been in love“..

..and this sets the tone for the rest of the album and sends ripples through every track that follows, which shows the power of the song.

There is one song on the album however that carries its own sound and takes you back to the Grouper you felt you knew so well, and that is the 12 minute finale “Made Of Air”, that holds her classic sound and returns you to the sombre drifting world before. This is not just a pleasant coincidence I’m afraid as the track was recorded 10 years ago before the album, and even though it doesn’t carry through with previous tracks, it holds a nice reminiscent nostalgic end to the album, and makes the listener feel that the old Grouper is still there, she is just evolving and adapting to new things. What is also great about the way in which she chose to complete the album is that there is a constant theme in Ruins where the past is continually being reassessed through the spectrum of the present, which makes “Made Of Air” (a past song) a real poetic conclusion to her present album.

This was an original review written by me on behalf of We Plug Good Music, Check out the original review here!

Jake Bugg Live @ First Direct Arena, Sunday, October 19 | Music Review

The First Direct Arena was set for an incredible night of live music with festival favourite Jake Bugg headlining the show, in conjunction with the celebration of the venues first birthday and the 25th anniversary of the bank. So the night promised to deliver a unique blend of celebration and sensational music, and that it did, with two support acts both bringing something unique and equally captivating to the arena. And of course Mr Bugg provided a ground breaking performance that was a true testament as to why he has previously been nominated for a World Music Award for Best Live Act, as he really does set an example for artists everywhere on how to perform live like an absolute Legend, which he no doubt will become.

The first band on to the stage was Leeds based four piece Skinny Living who completely blew me away. If you are not clued up on these guys, then you would have had no idea that they are an unsigned band, who before that night had only played gigs with a record of up to 2,000 people, and all of a sudden they were giving a first class performance to a sold out arena of up to 11,000.

I haven’t heard modern music like theirs that holds a real vintage, classic style sound so authentic and raw and bursting with energy, since Jake Bugg came on the scene, so they really were a perfect act to warm up the show. These young guys also launched their brand new single “Mother Earth” at the gig, which made me feel like I had gone back in time and I was watching the gig in black and white, and they just filled the surprisingly intimate arena with such a feel good atmosphere.

What is so great about Skinny Living’s music is that every song is relateable to an audience and that provided a real personal touch to their set. These guys also have the song writing ability to create music with variety that still carries through a distinct sound which makes their music uniquely their own but yet never boring. The way in which Skinny Living perform, act and present themselves show true promise of a band that are destined to reach new levels, and I seriously hope they do, as I cannot wait to hear more of their unique and entertaining sound!

Next on to the stage were fast emerging Irish folk-pop duo Hudson Taylor, also known as brothers Harry and Alfie, who started off busking in the streets of Dublin. Hudson Taylor was formed in 2011 and have already established themselves quite the fan base, which appeared clear, by the incredibly warm welcome they received from the audience. That or they just gave a performance of true professionals, either way, they left the stage that night with thousands more fans.

Their set begun with numerous acoustic guitars spreading their spine tingling riffs and layers all over the venue, filling the room with a true sense of presence whilst the young brothers owned the stage and performed like a headline act. Harry and Alfie have an abundance of charm and charisma that was showcased that night, not only in their music but by their natural performing qualities. This was demonstrated no where more crystal clear than when they performed recently released single “Chasing Rubies”, which is an absolutely beautiful song that grew even more spectacular live, as the emotion became more real, and the rawness of the boys’ voices was overwhelming and utterly captivating.

When the guys performed their song “Weapons”, the echoing chants in the chorus gave me goosebumps and had me and the entire audience completely enchanted, and brought a real sentimental atmosphere to the arena, one of which I was only expecting to happen when Jake Bugg performed. Hudson Taylor really have stepped out of the stereotypical indie band and have brought a completely unique sound, that is almost genre defying whilst still remaining classic. Their performance really did set a standard, of one you do not usually expect from a support act, garnering a full house of appreciation from the audience close to the level Mr Bugg was due to receive.

And last to grace the stage was the man of the moment, the winner of the UK Festival Award for Best Breakthrough Act and a list more, the one and only Jake Bugg. Jake appeared on stage and without saying a word, he got straight into his first track which was “Messed Up Kids”, a song off his second album Shangri La that was released in November last year. Jake has an effortlessly cool (could be perceived as arrogant) way about him, that I personally lap up, in the same way I did with the likes of the Gallaghers and Alex Turner.

It makes them seem untouchable and Jake has that same attitude and just embodies a Superstar without it coming across as a cliché, it is simply just cool and exhilarating to watch. That is simply talking about how his attitude takes his whole performance to new heights, and I haven’t even mentioned his musical abilities yet, which quickly summed up was vocally perfect, hair raising and one of the best live performances I have ever seen.

Jake’s voice live was better than perfect as he is one of those rare talents that actually sounds better live, because his voice is filled with more emotion and the rawness of the open arena just empowers the raspy, old town style of his tone. The next song on the agenda was a real fan favourite “Seen It All”, which was the sixth single to be released from his self titled debut album, and this was when I really felt the audience come alive, and the room turned in to thousands of Jake Bugg impersonators.

There were a few beautiful and surreal moments though, throughout Jake’s set, that really did bring the arena to a silence. These blissful moments happened on songs such as “Country Song”, “This Is A Song About Love” and on his second to last song of the night and one of my all time favourites, the stunning single “Broken”. I have to admit when Jake poured his heart into every word and every hypnotic note from the acoustic style he performed “Broken”, it brought tears to my eyes, because witnessing that song live was one of those indescribable moments where you just get captured by the song and seem to forget everything else around you, and that’s when it really pulls at your emotions, which is something Jake did so naturally.

The words from that song soared throughout my head for the rest of the night –

have become all I lost and all I hoped for / But I must carry on / Always one, never broken

I mean not only has Jake got one of the best voices in music right now but the lyrics of his songs are nothing short of poetic masterpieces, and there is no place you hear the lyrics more clear than in a live gig, as you get taken on a journey with the performer and you hear every word as if its directed straight at you. There is no other or better word to describe Jake Bugg’s set other then legendary.

The final song of the night was one of his most famous singles, the uplifting “Lightening Bolt”, which once again sent a shock of energy and somewhat chaos throughout the audience, which of course is what you want the end result to be from a live show. This song really highlighted Jakes unique blend of retro folk weaved with blistering infusions of contemporary rock riffs, that was a theme occurring throughout each act previous, but no where was it more aspirational and effortlessly achieved than in Jake’s set.

When Jakes set came to an end, I was inflated with a sense of achievement, for some reason having seen him live felt like something I could tick off my bucket list as it has been something I have wanted to do since I first heard him on the radio a few years ago. It was everything you want from a gig, it was bursting with unique, mind seducing talent that leaves your stomach circling with butterflies and overflowing with energy and just a real self contentment. I have to say Jake Bugg’s third studio album cannot come soon enough, and here’s to hoping another UK tour is close behind.

This was an original Review written by me for We Plug Good Music, Check out the original right here!

Turan – Persistence Of Memory EP | Best New Music

Let me take you on a journey in and out of reality with the stunning new 5-track EP from London based newcomer Turan. That’s right, the man who has been continuously impressing us with every new song from his Persistence Of Memory EP has now released the entire project on TRIBE Records and it is clear to see from listening to the EP, that he is a man of artistic vision and beautiful creativity.

Turan is an equally adept producer, singer and multi instrumentalist and this is showcased on this brilliant new release where every song has its own sound and takes its own path but yet the overall creation flows so effortlessly like a film score, and invites the listener into his dreams. Even at a quick listen to the EP, Turan’s influences reveal themselves from Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, Pink Floyd to Bill Withers and yet, he takes these influences and creates something unique and unknown. At one moment you will hear slow, spoken word vocals alongside delicate piano notes and then next Turan will be singing so perfectly, until suddenly there will be powerful aggressive rap layered on top of pounding production, which leaves the listener excited and on their toes wondering where Turan will take us next, or what the next track is going to reveal.

The EP kicks off with lead track “Departed”, which is an experimental mix of dark production, subtle and entrancing guitar textures, and earthy percussions that are all weaved together with Turan’s hypnotising and captivating lyrics. “Departed” has a cinematic feel, but still feels uniquely personal and in the depths of the track’s manic climax, it brings to light a further influence of Hans Zimmer. This track is where Turan’s extreme passion is portrayed so powerfully with his breath taking aggressive rap, and it really gives you an understanding of the man behind the music and the true potential of this young star in the making.

Next up to enchant my ears is the mostly instrumental track “Running” which is another true expression of Turan’s talents that is nothing short of musical perfection. It overflows with extreme emotional intensity, evoking some pretty artistic imagery. “Running” is testament to Turan’s versatilely as an artist, and this is where you begin to escape reality and join Turan in his dream world where nothing else seems to matter other then the soft, subtle and comforting sounds of Turan’s distant voice. Flowing straight into the song that I feel I can say is my favourite from the EP, is the stunning and compelling, more sombre track entitled “Alive”. A beautiful mix between spoken word and rap, this track is filled with honest lyrics and cleverly crafted gentle hooks that wake the audience up and with no puns intended, makes you feel alive and at peace.

Bringing the EP to a close is the powerfully poetic track “Memory” which is a perfect end to the ‘Persistence Of Memory’ journey and will leave the listener with a persistent memory of a world with Turan. This song is where you really gain an understanding of Turan’s production skills as they are so powerful and intricate throughout, and are layered with his intensely uplifting vocals which are utterly captivating on the riffs. The song then comes to an extreme end with a heavy rock break down, that is such a dramatic finale you almost feel as if you have just witnessed a first class live show, as there is so much atmosphere created, its pure genius.

The EP is named after the artist Salvador Dali’s painting, and this artistic connection that Turan so clearly demonstrates is layered into every song and every video he creates – this EP is an extension of his artistic vision and is such a stunning and intricate piece of art itself. When asked what he considered his music to be, Turan’s reply was

avant garde, passionate, and honest“,

which even as a simple answer still feels poetic and just, making it clear Turan is his own definition of the word Artist.

Purchase Turan Persistence Of Memory EP on Itunes.

This was an original post written by me for We Plug G.O.O.D Music  and can be viewed right here!

Ed Prosek Live @ Zigfrid Von Underbelly, Tuesday, September 09 | Review

Zigfrid Von Underbelly is a unique and crazy DJ Bar / Live Music Venue in Hoxton that supports Indie-pendent Music, and is will known for its array of authentic, varied and sensational talent gracing the stages. The reputation of Zigfrid’s is exactly why I randomly decided to take my tired, Tuesday evening to its presence in the hope of some atmosphere and good tunes, and it must have been the work of a higher power because the act that I arrived just in time to see setting up, was a real eye opener and the sort of performance that haunts your mind for days and days after, and leaves you feeling better off then when you woke up that morning.

The performance I am putting in such suspense came from Orange County native Mr Ed Prosek, who kindly brought his original, eclectic flavour of orchestral folk/pop/brilliance to Brighton in 2010, and he continues to release his musical magic into the UK singer song-writer scene, rapidly establishing himself as a true up and coming artist with serious and undeniable prospects. You may actually be reading this unaware you have already sung a long to one of Ed’s songs, or he may be the reason as to why your fridges are always full with Cathedral City Cheese – because in fact Ed ‘s single ‘Homeward Bound’ was the soundtrack for their ad campaign back in 2012.

Any way back to the show …….. Ed comes with a voice that is powerful, professional and poised ready for arenas but yet still it is unique and raw enough for intimate shows like the one I witnessed. Ed kick started his set with a track entitled ‘Home’ that is set to be released as part of a fourth coming EP due out in October. The song was a knock out and one of those rare and beautiful moments when you can completely lose any sense of reality, and can just be taken somewhere more beautiful, or in this case simply – Home. I think the people upstairs must have heard Ed’s voice as the room began to get more and more full, leading Ed on to his next song of which was a cover of the legendary Bob Dylan’s ‘Moonshiner’. However the song may be Dylan’s but Ed appeared to be taken his inspiration from The Punch Brothers version of the track as it came with a more modern authenticity. Nonetheless no matter what version Ed was challenging, it is safe to say ‘Moonshiner’ is now a track by Ed Prosek, as he sung it with such clarity and originality that you feel unaware of any previous version, which just goes to show the true distinction between his and other cover attempts.

Ed went on to sing an array of songs from his previous EP’s ‘Willow Tree’ and ‘California’ and he even sung a song that he said was untitled as he explained he sometimes struggles to name his songs, this left a real honesty and modesty to his performance, and in my opinion his songs are so strong, real and utterly captivating that no names are needed any way, they name themselves. However next was EP title track ‘California’ of which was Ed’s debut release back in 2012 and earned him several thousands of sales, which is not surprising as the song is one of those singles that will always remain as one of the artists most iconic tracks. ‘California’ is a rare gem, and is about California from the perspective of living in England.  

Oh she may not have the brains or the class but God she’s got the looks, and when you wake you’ll quickly find California’s got you hooked

Soar Ed’s beautiful vocals, and I’m not sure about Cali (due to the fact I have never been) but boy Ed sure has me hooked!!! The single is complex, deep and yet somehow simplistic, with the musicality and intricacy, mixed with the raw and rustic acoustic sound, the overall creation as utter genius.

Ed’s final song was a track entitled ‘Hold On Tight’ which is off his what should be a critically acclaimed Orchestral bands EP. That’s right Ed’s skills set is certainly not limited, as he is the son of an opera composer, and has years of study at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and a stint with the notable Magik*Magik Orchestra, leading Eds undeniable God-given talents to emerge even more trained and nurtured in a Classical form. This professional essence of Ed’s sound aviates’ from every single song, and is no where more apparent than in his vocal ability. He has a very rare and unique voice that overflows with raw and natural brilliance, and his training and classical background just elevates Ed’s sound into new levels leaving him a force to be reckoned with!!

Oh wait he got summoned for an Encore, big surprise there ….. Or not since I was one of the audience members screaming for more, but never the less Ed was thrilled to continue and looked extremely grateful to have been welcomed into the venue in such a big way. The actual finale was a stunning and intimate song about really young love known as ‘Sonoma’. This track may be hidden in the ‘California’ EP but it is a song that should not be missed. It starts out as a gentle simplistic song that matures gradually throughout to become a beautiful and solid all round respectable piece of art, and really gave a natural end to the show, leaving the audience with a sense of closure and contentment.

For more reviews, the latest music, music news and events stay tuned or you can head to We Plug G.O.O.D Music

Basheba Live @ The Bedford, July 29 | Review For We Plug G.O.O.D Music

The beautiful and sensational songstress Basheba took to the stage at the legendary Bedford in Balham, which as a venue has established a reputation as one of the most important and critically acclaimed venues in the country, and has had the likes of The Clash and U2 grace its stages in their early days. And now it was London’s singer/songwriter Basheba’s turn, and she did not look or perform like an artist with just 2 singles under her belt, as she performed with effortless style, edge and evocative emotion that portrayed a star with countless hits and chart success, which after seeing her live, appears the exact direction she will heading.

Basheba kick started her set with her debut and critically acclaimed single “No More” that which gained her masses of support from an array of fans and tastemakers alike, including MTV Base, BBC 1Xtra and SBTV among others. Seeing her perform the track live elevated it to a completely new level with the added touch of atmosphere and the stripped back rawness you gain from a live show. When listening to Basheba, you are utterly captivated – she takes influences from a variety of styles with her vocals pulling at Blues and Gospel sounds that contrast so beautifully to the hard edged drum and bass beats that her music is overflowing with.

Basheba is not just a stunning singer who knows how to style, she is also a storyteller, as every song she performed had an evocative narrative that took the audience on a journey, and you could really feel every emotion along with her – that as an artist really excels her into new realms. What gives Basheba’s music another unique blend and definitive sound is her Bajan roots which she is so clearly inspired by, and this really brings life to every song, adding an extra flavour that separates her from the rest and makes her a truly exciting and dangerous young talent.

When Basheba told the audience her next track needed a guest to help her out on stage, I got excited as this meant she was about to dive into her latest and second single release, the incredible new single “Dirty Love (Your Love)” which features her old school friend Jordan Reece on vocals. This song brought a whole new burst of energy into the room as it is such an atmospheric track and both their vocals combined is sheer beauty, as they subtly blend together so delicately that you feel every word they sing as if it is one voice. The contrast works in complete harmony, and live with a band just added even more depths to an already intricate and stunning song.

Basheba finished her set with a new track entitled “Shade” which is off her forthcoming EP, and gave us another taster of things to come. This fresh emerging star over flows with talent and this song really accentuated her true vocal ability and demonstrated just how authentic her music really is. With influences from an array of genres, natural narrative skills, and a voice unlike any one else, Basheba really is one to watch and with her imminent EP release dawning upon us, which will no doubt bring her further out of the shade and shine a light on her true capabilities, I cant see any stopping this sensational songstress, and I think the future really is bright for Basheba.

This was an original review for We Plug G.O.O.D Music, Check out my original review right here!

Little Simz Live @ The Shacklewell Arms, June 18 | Review For We Plug G.O.O.D Music

The tension began to build in the small but intimate venue of Dalston’s The Shacklewell Arms for the highly anticipated arrival of young North London hailing rising superstar Little Simz. The excitement was undeniable as the room began to fill and you could spot true fans a mile a way, already getting themselves set up as close to the stage as possible. With the atmosphere set and venue filled to the brim, the girl with four mixtapes, and a debut EP under her belt, came bursting onto the stage. Little Simz immediately looked at home and not only with her overwhelmingly cool confident attitude, but in her over all appearance, she was rocking some blue and white dungarees, a red hat and her distinctive front plait that she has so naturally made her own.

Little Simz may only be 20 years old, but you should not let that fall you, as she really does hold a lyrical punch and attitude that could be confused with a grown woman who has been performing for decades. She has a sound that she describes as “Rap, Experimental, with elements of Rock” and she is often nicknamed ‘Princess of Rap’, and after witnessing her live, I could not agree more. I saw the true potential of a girl that could well grow to be the ‘Queen of Rap’, as she owned the stage and completely showed off her lyrical skill and her own unique style which her fans so truly love. Simz performed songs off her debut EP E.D.G.E which was released the same day as her show and is an acronym for for her motto Every Day Gets Easier, and you could really hear the progression and maturation within her style and sound, and the transition she has made as an artist since her mixtape releases.

A true testament to this transition was when Simz performed the song “Quest Luv” with guest Tilla. This song was such a change from the usual chaotic and more hard verbal delivery that we are used to hearing, as the tone of the music changed with the sound of the piano over a slowed down drum pattern and the sensational soulful vocals of 15-year old Tilla, that added a real emotional edge, that hits a lot deeper than her past work has previously touched upon. The song speaks upon an unsuccessful relationship and echoes a darker, more poetic edge than we have been accustomed to, and this really demonstrates the dynamic growth of Simz and the direction in which she is heading as an artist.

However this is not to disregard any of Little Simz’ previous work, because without her previous mixtapes, this young talent would not be where she is today, and these were the tracks that have gained her such committed and long term fans who filled the venue where I was standing. Not only that but without Blank Canvas her mixtape which was released last year, Simz would not have been thrust into the star light, with her mixtape being premièred on Jay Z’s Life + Times in September 2013. And it was songs from this mixtape and even earlier work including tracks off her XY.ZED mix tape, that when performed, really sent the crowd into a frenzy, and showed real commitment and love for this young star. Simz dropped verses of lyrical genius and musical passion and appeared to be glowing on that stage, whether that was because she looked like she belonged on that stage or because she was just so exhausted from every ounce of energy she put into each track and every hard hitting beautifully carved drop.

There is something to be said for the amount of energy and passion Simz put into every single song, verse, and lyric she performed, and this did not fade throughout her whole set, which just accentuates Simz’s true potential and the amount of hunger she has for what she does and what she wants to achieve. She spoke in her show about never giving up and how everything is possible, and this is something that she herself has proved alone, and should be an example for young people everywhere. Little Simz gave an emotional, passionate, honest and admirable performance and for me, sold her debut EP with that performance alone, and I look forward to seeing what this rising star takes on next, but I have no doubts that she is on the EDGE of something special.

This was an original review for We Plug G.O.O.D Music, check out my original review right here!

Midé Live @ The Underbelly, June 03 | Review For We Plug G.O.O.D Music

The Underbelly in Hoxton Square is a venue renowned for being a great place to enjoy live music. With its edgy and intimate setting, it provides a real sociable and interactive atmosphere to bask in excellent live performances, and the reputation of the venue was well lived up to on Tuesday, June 3, 2014, with three outstanding sets, including a stand-out performance from headliner Midé, whose set demonstrated vocals of a true star, and lyrics that accentuated this musicians utter talent and passion for music.

First on stage to support Midé was young North London R&B/Soul singer-songwriter Juliyaa, who came on with such confidence and charisma which immediately drew the audience in and captured everyone’s attention. Juliyaa has such an amazing set of vocals that introduces and showcases her diverse musical influences, and consists of a real array of pitches and tones – this was so beautifully demonstrated when she sung “Good For Nothing”. The song started upbeat in which she got to let loose and show us some real energy and powerful tones with a more urban music vibe, but then there was a section in the song where the tempo changed and she slowed it down and we got to see a more acoustic and soulful side to her sound with a real haunting harmony, and this song really accentuated her technical ability as a singer/songwriter.

What was so great about Juliyaa’s set was the way in which she interacted with her band and the audience, because with the venue’s really chilled and intimate vibe, you need the performer on stage to own the room and to show you a good time, which Juliyaa so naturally proved. The stunning Soul singer performed songs from her eagerly anticipated EP Somerset Close, including a track entitled “Mamma Said” which ended her set. This song has real potential and sounded like that of a true professional, and a chart topping songstress, which she so naturally seems to inhibit. Throughout Juliyaa’s set, I noticed just how fresh and unique her style of music is and how she touches upon such a variety of genres including African tribal sounds, UK Urban/Dubstep, elements of Electronic Music, R&B and soul, all that combined with her stunning array of vocals mix up to create her own individual brand that she has entitled ‘Rhythmic Soul’ which is a true testament to the performance I witnessed.

Next to grace the stage were recently created Welsh band Nights, consisting of four young guys who have the complete package of what I like to see in a band. They all had an air of confidence about their persona, and lead singer Anthony Smith who introduced them looked nothing short of a true star on that stage, and as a group they just seemed to piece together as a band that you would have guessed have been touring and playing together for years and years. The first line to come out of Anthony Smith’s mouth immediately sold their set for me and I knew I was in for an absolute star quality performance.

Nights have an extremely fresh sound that touches upon a mixture of genres and qualities including Rock & Indie styles, experimenting with Electronic beats and real edges of Grunge, and all combined with 3 remarkable guitarists, a stand out drummer and vocals that utterly blew my mind, and not to mention attitude and charisma that exploded their performance to another level. What truly made these lads stand out though was the uniqueness of tones and rasps in the vocals, for me there is nothing better when watching live music, than when you get a vocalist who has your complete attention, and provides you with a sound that you have never heard before, and that is exactly how I felt when watching Nights.

These guys performed a variety of songs, even a track that contained no lyrics just an instrumental, and yet I was still as transfixed, which truly demonstrates the quality of their musical abilities. Their final song was entitled “Know No Other”, for which they invited a friend Fernquest, who had co-written the song, onto the stage to perform with them. What ended the show was utter brilliance, the lyrics and vocals combined was genius and how they mixed in rap with their edgy and rocky sound was highly professional and created a track that has the potential for greatness.

Finally, headline act and the man of the moment, London singer/songwriter Midé came onto the stage and what happened next is extremely hard to accentuate via writing, however I am going to do my utmost to truly explain the passion, musicianship, talent and star quality that Midé so naturally and modestly explodes with. Midé kicked his set off with a track entitled “Unlikely” from his debut album E.G which was released at the end of March this year and gained him recognition from the likes of MTV, MOBO, SBTV and BBC 1Xtra.

Midé is one of those rare talents that are extremely hard to find anymore, as he resembles the essence of live music, and by this, I mean I have listened to his album and previous EPs, and was completely blown away by his vocal ability, the melodies and lyrics of every song, and yet I still prefer the unedited, raw and live performance that I saw. Midé live is something that is not seen every day and neither is his vocal excellence, he has a way of connecting with a listener, and fills the room with a sense of ease and comfort. The uniqueness in Midé’s sound comes from the subtle arrays of genres in which his music echoes, from the rawness of acoustic, the smoothness of Soul, the rhythm of Blues, edges of soft Rock and hitting on Reggae beats, that all combine to create this beautiful sound. The combination of his soulful voice with sensationally skillful guitar playing reflects artists such as Eric Clapton, Jason Mraz, Ed Sheeran and John Mayer who could be seen as influences (however I think its safe to say Midé sounds like Midé).

It’s not only Midé’s sound that is so impressive, but it is his whole attitude and every ounce of charisma that he inhibits, and this was demonstrated when he performed the song “Hilda”, and he explained he had never performed the song live before and was extremely excited to do so as he wanted to get the whole audience doing a dance routine. Every song has its own rhythm and uniqueness that creates variety and excitement, but yet he has this sound that follows through every song to maintain his own individuality. Midé shook things up a bit when he performed his cover of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love?”, and it was one of the best Bob Marley covers I have ever heard, he kept a Reggae musical backdrop flowing throughout, but then gave it his own spin which kept his uniqueness echoing through, and this is extremely admirable and rare to hear, when listening to such a famous cover. He then kept the Reggae beat lasting with his own song “Any Which Way” which is also off the E.G album, and really added to the good times we were all so clearly having.

Midé started finishing up his set with “Mainstream”, a song from both his 2013 EP of the same name and his recent debut album E.G. He explained how important this song was for him, as it has done a lot for his career and helped him to get to where he is right now. With Midé singing

“wake me, I’m asleep, I’m in a daydream, wake me“,

I was taken away on his journey and it made me realise that music is not what Midé does, it is who he is. This song was finished up with Midé jamming with the band, which accentuated their musical capabilities and passion for the art.

When finished with this song, I was in no way surprised when he was requested/screamed at for an encore by the audience (me being one of them). He asked the audience who among them had followed his career right from the start, and it appeared that the majority of the venue had. He then went on to test them by singing “Travellin’ Light” from his debut EP from back in 2011, and it was such an amazing moment to see his true fans sing along to every word with him. It just ended the show with such good feelings and clarity, and it was so clear that Midé was right where he belonged, singing and playing to real fans, and gaining new ones every step of the way.

This was an original review for We Plug G.O.O.D Music, Check out my original review right here!