Discovery 2 Showcase: Morganway, ME & Deboe, Sirena Grace
For the open minded, the Discovery showcases always present you with the chance to see up and coming acts across a variety of genres and tonight was no different. Opening the night was a US singer songwriter Sirena Grace who is about to release her debut EP. She has parents from El Salvador and Dominican Republic and initially had a soulful vibe to her work but as the evening progressed it turned out that she could pretty much turn her hand to whatever style she fancied. One thing that really stood out, and marks her as one to watch was the way she handled a power cut, that took out the lights and her sound Without so much as skipping a beat she continued as if nothing had happened with a voice that was still strong enough to fill the room with ease. Her set was a mixture of covers and self penned numbers, among the covers being "Shallow" from "A Star Is Born" and a frankly bizarre reworking of "The Phantom Of The Opera", in the sense that it was attempted with just an acoustic guitar for backing, and ended with her in full operatic mode belting out the song like a true diva. Having said that it proved to be a hugely enjoyable version that somehow worked.
ME & Deboe is the name by which Mercy Elise, from Halifax West Yorkshire, and Liverpool born Sarah Deboe operate, nominally billed as folk act, this seems far to restrictive a box to place them in.
Generating a great deal of noise from just two acoustic guitars and providing great harmonies, this was another great performance on the night. A truly inspired version of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" followed, covers of Kate Bush songs are quite rare and good covers are like hens teeth but this was was mighty fine.
There was almost something anthemic in the riffs that came with "Forward" with its highly infectious chorus of "If you do do do what they tell you". The next song promised something a little different and not many would have been expecting a take on Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love!" - as with the Kate Bush cover it was spot on.
The final song was something of an old fashioned rock and roller with Mercy Elise using using a slightly unusual movement to also extract a percussion noise while furiously playing her guitar at the same time.
These sets are like little tasting menus and we'll certainly be looking to catch up with ME & Deboe on their next trip to the Metropolis.
For Morganway it was their third and final night of their three month residency. The band line up restored to it more usual line up with fiddle player Nicole Terry restored to the line up, though still sporting a bandaged thumb that had kept her out of the recent headlining slot at "Country On The Coast".
It is hard to think of any other band where quite so many things happen at once, it is almost impossible with so much going on to capturehe feel of the excitement that they generate in a live environment. For "My Love Ain't Gonna Save You", the twin vocals of Callum and SJ, are ably backed by the rest of the band, and the interaction between guitar, fiddle and keyboards is something to marvel at.
This was to be another 6 song take no prisoners set and it was straight into the current single, the "rowdy song", "Let Me Go", with Kieran's guitar playing a starring role along with some power tambourine playing from SJ, excellent solos from both Nicole and Kieran and a finale with a sense of urgency built up from pounding drums, and the strength of 5 voices powering out "LET ME GO".
The piano intro to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, "Breaking The Girl" saw SJ playing acoustic and in a change form the norm taking the lead vocals. Once again it is hard to capture all that is happening, especially the finale with Ed Bullingers drumming shaking the very venue, SJ furious vocals and Callum reduced to one knee.
A change of pace followed with "Frozen In Our TIme" but it's only a temporary respite as two thirds of the way through the song explodes and takes on epic proportions, and the interplay between Kieran's guitar and Nicole's fiddle really became apparent.
SJ took to introducing "London Life", in her best London accent, or at least her best approximation of one, It's a song which sees an absolute flurry of activity, once again driven by Ed's drumming, there's wonderful fiddle playing, bouncing! and audible stomping not forgetting Callum's vocals that go to make a wonderful four minutes or so. It even drove the audience to provide some suitably energetic dancing to accompany it.
With the set climaxing on the inevitable onslaught that it is "Hurricane" which in many ways encapsulates everything in one song, from Kieran's atmospheric guitar work, Matt Brocklehurst's keys given centre stage, another charming fiddle solo from Nicole, a screeching guitar solo from Kieran, SJ power vocals and Callum's driving bass - in fact his usual pirouetting finale was somewhat marred by hitting a low hanging light with his bass guitar, but that could not stop things finishing on an almighty crescendo.
With lots of Festivals and London shows planned over the summer - you really should take the opportunity to see this band while you can - they won't be at venues this size for very much longer.