An excellently assembled bill was to provide a cracking nights entertainment at 229, each alone could easily have justified the price of admission but to get all three together was simply outstanding.
If there is one London debut we've been waiting for it was Emilia Quinn, her debut EP is probably one of the most startling things you'll hear all year so it was always going to be interesting to see how the person behind those songs would appear live. Taking to the stage she was perhaps slightly smaller than i'd expected but easily seemed to grow an inch or two when placed in front of the mic stand, exuding a level of confidence. It was a confidence that could easily have been knocked when some early technical difficulties meant that she ended up playing the set on one guitar having to retune each time rather than her planned two guitar approach.
Opening with "For Your Heartache", with her expressive guitar playing backed up with a stomp pedal for extra oomph, her vocal strong and powerful and if the pre show difficulties had caused any nerves they clearly were not evident. Her favourite track from her debut EP, is "Sorry Momma" and live it was, if anything more intense, with the volume gradually building.
Moving on to the blues of "Nothing To Lose", Emilia revealed both a smouldering delivery, and then a raw rocking vocal.
It was back to the EP for "Someone Like Me", initially starting with a gentle vocal over a barely strummed guitar before revving up into something entirely different, faster and louder and with a cutting chorus, exactly the sort of song that made the EP stand out. A slightly unexpected cover came in the shape of Luke Combs "Beer Never Broke My Heart" with Emilia sounding authentically country and having something of an edge about her, to allow her to carry the song off believably. Part of the fascination about Emilia was finding out what other material she had in her locker, and the recently written "Outlaw" was extremely promising, sassy with a great chorus, the way Emilia powered out the "I want your love" of the chorus was great edgy rocking country.
Her closing song was her next single, "Mistakes" which came with the teaser that it will come with a full band when released, This brooding stomp of a stripped back version only made you want to hear more. For many this was to be their first glance of Emilia, and it was fascinating to see many faces quite used to seeing new acts be completely blown away by her short but highly entertaining set
If truth be told #TEAM21 have probably stood next to Gasoline & Matches at Festivals and gigs many more times than we've actually seen them play live and until now we've never seen them with a full band and what a difference that made. As a duo they were great, as a band they were nothing short of sensational, a shimmering cymbal introduction led into the high octane almost rockabilly of "Fool's Gold", Sally Rea Morris delivering a rich powerful country vocal with Steve Marks adding additional vocals as well as some great guitar work
From there it was immediately into the mainstream rocking sound of "If You Wanna Stay", with the twin electric guitars and vocal giving the whole thing an awesome amount of power. There was even time for Steve to pull off some shameless guitar hero poses - it was great fun, Continuing through their debut EP Sally Rea made for a powerful lead on "Not Into Country"
There was new impressive material in "Patient Wolves" about "men and their intentions", which had an almost traditional feel shot through the Gasoline and Matches prism, with the twin vocals again working a charm and ending on a wolf howl from Steve. Any song introduced with the words "Co written with Jenn Bostic" is always destined to be a belter and "Could've Been A Love Song" did not disappoint, nicely wordy and matched to a cracking chorus delivered with some aplomb.