Write Like A Girl - Beth Keeping, Danni Nicholls, Jade Helliwell, Remember Monday - Camden Chapel
Our first visit to the Camden Chapel, an almost boutique venue in Camden. After climbing the steps to the first floor venue we eventually enter into a white walled room with a high ceiling, there are a smattering of chairs down either side and a floor covered in cushions and lights for everyone else to sit on, with space at the back to stand. It is a small venue but there are no bad vantage points, wherever you sit or stand good view is guaranteed for all.
For the Write Like A Girl team, it is their second consecutive sold out show, and such is the ongoing demand for tickets that from next month they'll be looking to expand into a larger as yet undecided venue. Tonight's show is an indication of the strength and depth across the UK female performing spectrum. with four distinctly different acts each bringing something a little different to the table, to make a diverse, hugely enjoyable evenings entertainment.
The opening song in each round would fall to Jade Helliwell, and she chose to open with "Drive", about life's journey, a song celebrating who you are on the journey with rather than the journey itself. With its one word title extended to the maximum length giving Jade a chance to power out the chorus. The bar was immediately set high and the evening was to to continue in that vein.
Second to go was Danni Nicholls, riding high on the recent release of her latest album "The Melted Morning". Of the four acts, certainly the most confident guitar player, with some beautiful playing to accompany "Texas". For the verses she seemed to be deep in the zone with her eyes closed, only opening them for the chorus. With a rich warm smooth vocal style it was a magical four minutes.
Our host for the evening, and performing for the second time in a week for us was Beth Keeping. There was a difference between the two shows in that this time, she was sitting rather than standing and also that this was in front of a silent crowd, intently listening on every word. Last week was great, but tonight it seemed that Beth took it to another level, "Flashbacks" about the little things that take you back, like the smell of an ex's cologne sounded even more like a perfect piece of singer songwriting.
Our final act of the round was in fact a group, Remember Monday, who have come out of the brush with tv fame unaffected, with a delightful line in self deprecating introductions they've clearly pushed on amassing lots of new material. It was one of their older songs "Your Kinda Love" that was their first contribution, as it has been for nearly all of their shows apparently. A reviewing nightmare with vocal duties split between the three but there is no denying their effectiveness when all three come together to provide those harmonies.
It was back to Jade for round two and her award winning song that she unleashed at about this time last year prior to playing Nashville Meets London. Co written with Sue McMillan "Boom Tick" never fails to raise a smile with its infectiously saucy chorus! Jade well and truly got the party atmosphere going.
Danni's second contribution, co written with Jess Morgan, "Losing it" kicked off with some lively expressive guitar playing, with the vocals line on the chorus "I have so much love to give" getting louder each time round with some superb power delivery on the final round.
By comparison Beth had a much more subdued playing style though none the less effective. Another song that sounded more confident than it had the previous week was "Strangers in The Same City" with real emphasis on the lines "I'm scared i'll see you, I'm scared I won't" which really helped sell the song.
Remember Monday had the Chapel laughing with the tale of how their next song had not only failed to be submitted for a competition but how the fact had been kept from chief songwriter Lauren!. It was Lauren who opened up the vocals on "Home To Me", on a song largely sung as a trio and highly effective it was too.
The final round before a short interval started as ever with Jade and her most successful song to date, "Stormchaser" with over 100k streams. With snappily delivered verses, even in this acoustic format it retained a lot of its charm. With her vocals slightly restrained this was definitely her best song of the night.
When introducing her next contribution, Danni suggested it might be a potential singalong. Having been at a show earlier in the week where literally no-one joined in, the prospect of a singalong initially always fills me with dread. As it turned out the fear was unwarranted, maybe it was the fact that we were in a chapel, maybe the spiritual nature of "Back To Memphis" somehow captured the audiences heart, but by the time of the first chorus it seemed that the whole room including the participants on stage were joining in. No matter what your religious persuasion or lack
of, there was no denying the power of a room of people singing together - it was really moving, even Danni towards the end lowered her guitar playing so that she could hear it for herself. it is moments such as this that make live music events so special.
For Beth, it was to be another confessional singer songwriter moment with her song "Fool". Originally written for piano but tonight delicately played on guitar, this emotional personal song was delivered with great aplomb.
Remember Monday closed the first half of the evening with a great new song, "What I Know Now". With all the pressures around teenagers mental health, you could easily imagine this song getting picked up for a Government campaign as it has the power to resonate with anyone who hears it, including the lines "Don't tell your Mum you hate her when she's just trying to make you laugh!". Holly at the centre of the trio was a blur of hand actions on song that they should rightfully be proud of.
With the merchandise stall doing brisk business and the Bar benefiting from the stifling heat of the Chapel, It was back to Jade to commence the fourth round with a song co written with Jess Thristan. "Ain't No Reason" is nicely constructed and approaches the subject matter from a completely different angle to normal "He don't deserve to be treated this way - it's no reason to stay". With a trademark Jade chorus, watch out for this one when it gets released.
Danni's penultimate contribution was a love song to herself, "the greatest love of all" as Whitney would tell us. "Ancient Embers" once again saw an incredibly focused delivery as the song gradually developed. With a chorus of essentially "ooh"ing it remained a thing of beauty.
Once again the attentive audience brought the best out of Beth for her song "Naked", and the vulnerability in the song was matched by a quite vulnerable style of delivery.
Remember Monday then once again showed that there is a steely side to their nature, not afraid to tackle a subject that many might shy away from. There is no denying that "Version Of You" is addressing serious issues, it also has a sudden change in tempo, intensity and volume about half way through it - that really grabs your attention when it kicks in - great stuff!!
The final round saw us once again enter the world of the singalong as Jade unveiled her new single "Put it On You" which again found the crowd ready to join in. another slightly more restrained vocal with once again some snappily delivered lines that went down exceptionally well in the room.
Danni mentioned the name of #TEAMw21 favourite Kyshona Armstrong as co writer in the introduction to "Hear Your Voice" and once again whether it was the Chapel or the implicit gospel feel of the song, all of a sudden uninvited there seemed to be a large number of people joining in on the chorus.
Beth had to play her final song against the backdrop of 2019 Camden, a circling police helicopter!! "Building Bridges On The Dance Floor" celebrating the power of healing in music to close all wounds none the less was hugely enjoyable.
The job of closing the round and indeed the evening fell to Remember Monday for a song that will probably be their next single, "Find My Way". The final section where all three sung together really got the party atmosphere going but alas by then it was time to head home.
Write Like A Girl - Will return next month - Keep an eye out for details of guests and the new venue
Beth Keeping's new single "Building Bridges On The Dance Floor" is available on all Digital Platforms
Jade Helliwell's "Put It On You" is available on all Digital Platforms
Remember Monday have a new single coming soon
Danni Nicholls album The Melted Morning is available now - and will be playing more dates later in the year