As part of our ongoing quest to have reviewed anyone appearing at C2C, we find ourselves at the swanky Hospital Club, just off Shaftesbury Avenue. It’s normally a members club but tonight is a special event for unsigned music artists showcasing their talents, so we are directed to the lift and told to go to the fourth floor. The lift comfortably fits us and helpfully informs, that it would also accommodate 88 Haddock and just under 3000 pigeons, with neither in our possession we continue upwards to the fourth floor.
The lift opens out and there are 2 rooms, one with a bar and seemingly a patio for any smokers while in the other a decent sized room with a low stage, and a drum kit ready to provide the entertainment for the evening. I should mention that this event was free and that it highlights that in all genres, there are a lot of talented artists trying to get their music heard and out to a wider audience. Each act was afforded a twenty five minute slot and had previously spent the day recording or playing acoustic sessions for broadcast later.
First up was Storme, a Swedish electronica act, with a keyboard player, a backing singer and someone playing a tiny box that seemed to do a variety of things. Sounding at times like a fusion of Bjork and Passenger it was entertaining but probably too far out my comfort zone to say anything relevant. The songs., like “North Pole” were always intriguing with a somewhat ethereal feel to them.
Sounding like a losing team on The Apprentice, Stealth was an intriguing character, appearance wise a sort of hybrid of Elvis, George Michael with a hint of Robbie thrown in, musically he had something approaching a soulful vibe that could see him go off in a number of different directions. Although currently unsigned, his music has appeared on TV and with a deep voice I would imagine he’s hoping to mop up fans of Rag‘n’Bone Man looking for something new.
Tonight’s appearance was a stripped back version of what he does normally with just a drummer and an acoustic guitarist as backing however maybe stripped back is all he needs. On the basis of his performance tonight I immediately downloaded his “Bare Bones” EP which I have to say is pretty fantastic.
As a performer he immediately grabs the viewers attention and his material is highly engaging, “Judgement Day” was the day that appeared on TV in “Suits” and deserves a place in anyones record collection, delivered tonight with real passion. The single of last year “I Don’t Need your Love”, had so much more intensity delivered in this format, and was totally absorbing. Even songs like "How Much Further" which you would imagine normally comes with a bit of a groove still kept it's power as the additional instrumentation was not required, Stealth carried it with his showmanship.
Vanguards hit the stage and had all the making of a band that should already be playing on a bigger stage, songs with instantly catchy choruses, such as “Rosie & The Blackheart” their current single. They were hugely enjoyable and had a touch of the late 80’s about them, but there is no denying that they packed in a high number of riffs into each song to make sure that there was something memorable going on at all times.
The reason for our trip was to finally catch up with the Tuesday Syndicate, a Devon based band who played at C2C 2015. They now seem to be four piece with a front facing keyboard player, and a bass player permanently ducking and weaving as he played. They came with a line in songs that had a big sound, that seemed much bigger than the venue and were crying out to be played at an outdoor festival. The opener “Letter” with lead singer Sam Mayo delivering the “Give me a reason to believe” refrain was a good example of this while “Island” their second song from their forthcoming EP was truly anthemic. Of all the acts though they suffered most in the mix, with the sound guy taking a couple of songs to get the awesome nature of their performance under control. There came a cry of “10 more songs” from the audience and while they did not quite manage this they did play “London” referred to as a “slow soppy song” and “Hourglass”, their new single which had a real powerpop feel to it and a nice guitar riff for good measure.
The evening was exceptionally well marshaled and run by the UMA team, who assembled a great and varied evenings listening. It was good to see that each of the bands from quite different genres were given a fair listening to by a quite cosmopolitan audience of all ages and colours looking to hear something new.