The Spice Of Life is a pub just off Charing Cross Road, and in a sweltering hot basement we have come to see the latest appearance by Morganway. At Buckles & Boots they absolutely blew us away with their set, but that was on a big festival stage, could recreate the same energy again? Tonight they were part of a somewhat eclectic bill but they were to make a lasting impression on all that saw them
The Spice Of Life stage was quite wide, if low and the audience were able to sit and watch on 2 levels, to the far right of the stage, covered up stood a full sized concert piano.
Immediately preceding them was a performance by Nele (pronounced Naila as opposed to Nelly ) Needs A Holiday, normally a 5 piece band but tonight reduced to just Nele Van den Broeck, herself with only a ukulele for company. With an accent that was something like someone from Belgium who had a flatmate from Dublin for a long time, she proceeded to reveal a set of somewhat self-deprecating songs laced with humour and tragedy, occasionally both at the same time.
She seemed to be both supremely confident while at the same time displaying a number of nervous tics, constantly adjusting her clothing or scratching her right leg by bending her left leg behind her as if using a yoga move to cure an itch! The songs were unique, how many artists forinstance are currently inserting cutlery jokes into their songs, but she certainly kept the viewer entertained. The plight of intellectual girls not meeting men was covered in “Guys” while “FFFD” you’ll need to hear to fully appreciate. The one song that really delicately trod the tightrope between comedy and tragedy was “Give Up The Dream” balancing her Mums wishes for her to have a family against her desire to be singer and adored by a million fans. Her delivery on "Some Days" a message for her little niece was also uniquely touching. Her new album was mastered at Abbey Road and is due out on October 6th.
Morganway put in such a fantastic stint at Buckles & Boots 2017 that we had to return to see them just to see if that was a one off performance or whether they could recreate that intensity at a regular gig. They not only met expectations but raised them further, from the very opening bars of “My Love Ain’t Gonna Save You“, they once again unleashed their wall of sound. The sheer intensity of seeing every single member of a band in full flow either singing lead or backing vocals is something to behold.
The set moved on with “Let Me Go” with a great guitar solo in it that builds to a fast and furious climax, while “I See People” had a neat little organ solo from Matthew Brocklehurst. The thing about this band is that at any time, any member can be the main focus of attention, whether it be Keiran Morgan’s guitar breaks, or the effortless yet driving drumming from Simon Tinmouth.
They are currently in the process of recording their debut album, and “Frozen In Our Time” is a potential song for inclusion, with its piano intro, and then Yve Mary B’s vocals giving the song an almost folk like beginning, then building with more guitar and Yve showing her full range with a blistering vocal performance. Any Morganway show in the Capital would not be complete without “London Life”, with Callum Morgan leading the singing while Yve took her tambourine playing up another notch to somewhere close to frantic! There was cheering and clapping from the audience appreciative of what they were seeing,
The closing song “Hurricane” as it starts has all the force of REM in their prime and builds into one hell of a finale, with a sublime guitar break and everyone singing at full throttle, simply breath taking. Only six songs, but once again what a performance cementing themselves in our hearts as one of the best live bands on the current circuit of any genre. They’ve just been nominated for a BCMA for “Group Of The Year” which will hopefully raise their profile further – my advice is get out and see them soon - no disrespect to the Spice Of Life but they will not be playing venues this small for much longer.