When you enter a competition from Sofar Sounds for free gig tickets you never know quite what to expect. Primarily because they don’t tell you the venue until a couple of days beforehand and you may only know one of the acts performing. However, as it was already a few days into January and with few gigs on the horizon I duly put my name in the ring and was lucky enough to win a ticket to this show on 11th Jan. All I knew was that it was in Shoreditch and turning up at an Industrial looking venue, it transpires that Acylicize is an Art and Design space and gallery. With a couple of sofas dotted around the edges, no bar and a request for everyone else to sit on the floor the experience is much like a cross between a gig in a living room and a school assembly (although you are allowed to bring your own drinks).
First up tonight was Two Ways Home with Lewis and Isi joined by Michael Clancy on guitar. Their set was entirely acoustic and opened with “Closest Stranger”. To keep things up-tempo this was followed by “Two Short Years”, their ‘classic’ Prison Song. After which a straw poll of the of the audience was conducted with a view to finding out what kind of music they should be classified as. The consensus of opinion seemed to be f-untry (cross between folk/country) and/or prison ballads! To stick with the ballad theme they moved on to “Take My Hand”, a much quieter, mellow feel and ideally suited to the environment. This song comes complete with multi-layered harmonies. All too soon we were on to their final song, “Push & Pull”. With Isi joining on Mandolin this song comes complete with the option for the audience to join in on the chorus, and they were in good voice tonight. All in all this was a great, but short, set.
After a short 10 minute break we were on to the second act Georgie. She’s a solo guitarist from Nottingham although had been struck down with a cold. Sipping whiskey (purely medicinal of course) from a hip flask she kicked off with “Wildcat”. This song has a Bluesy style and reminded me a little of Sonia Leigh. “Hard Times” with hook line of “She Can’t Quit” and is available on Spotify in a rather fine piano version. Georgie’s third song “This Ain’t Heaven” is also available online and is one of the first songs she wrote, in the bathroom of all places! Closing with “Beer Money” her voice started to take on a Janis Joplin style and was a paean to drink! With a slot supporting Jake Bugg on his solo tour coming up and one of her songs having over 210,000 streams this was a great chance to see a potential star of tomorrow at close quarters.
Another quick break before the final act took to the stage. Chris Cape came complete with band, this time we had electric lead guitar, bass, cajon, and French horn! So I’m at a bit of a loss to describe the style, the first words that came to mind were “This is weird”. I can only describe it as a mix of part spoken word, part funk, part jazz, part beat poetry. I’ll be honest and say that it seemed a little bit too conceptual for me (or maybe contrived). Kind of like an art school experiment although the audience seemed to be enjoying it! “Not my speed” was a song about ‘hating the man' and was written on the bus home from a Supermarket job… “Home” was probably my favourite song and the chorus was another sing-along moment with the room singing enthusiastically. For the last couple of songs we were asked to stand up and dance ‘quietly’, ie from the waist up! “Valerian” was available to buy as an artwork and you got the digital download for ‘free’ (because nobody buys physical music anymore!)
All in all an interesting evening and a new venue and a couple of new artists ticked off. Oh, and a start to the live music experience of 2018!