New Desert Blues @ Lennon’s, Southampton (27/04/2013)

New Desert BluesPhoto: William Fuller

I don’t understand music fans that turn up just for a gig’s headliner. You never know what support-act riches you’re going to stumble upon, and Saturday’s line-up was a goldmine.

Farnham four-piece The Venus Lyx kicked off proceedings. Churning out some standard, yet pleasing, guitar-heavy tracks to start with, it was when the vocals started to get bluesy that their set got interesting. By getting raw and rocking some fun guitar licks, the guys took it up by several notches before their time was up.

Ever heard of London outfit LSA? No? Me neither before Saturday. Causing a stir as the unnanounced second support act, the revelation that it was their live debut was clearly met with surprise. As far as first gigs go, this was a blinder. The band were tight and held a truly engaging rapport with the crowd. If there were any jitters on stage, they weren’t visible throughout the impressive set. Seemingly flawless both instrumentally and vocally, this new discovery was the highlight of the entire evening. Unfortunately I can’t find them online, but definitely keep an ear out for these guys as I sense great things to come.

Venue regulars New Desert Blues never fail to disappoint. Looking dapper, as ever, and brimming with unassuming confidence, the guys’ soothing americana vibes went down a treat. Their growing popularity across the Southern music scene was evident as revelling punters sang and chanted along, especially to firm favourite ‘Daniel’. If their recent show supporting folk-pop darlings Slow Club and live session for BBC Introducing is anything to go by, the future’s bright for New Desert Blues, and Saturday’s gig was just another step on their road to success.

H. Hawkline: Black Domino Box EP Launch @ The Social, London (21/08/2012)

hawkline

This week saw the release of up-and-coming Welsh musician H.Hawkline’s latest EP, Black Domino Box. On the second night of his mini-tour of the UK to promote the launch, London hot spot The Social played host to an incredibly intimate and delightful raucus set.

Support came in the form of R.Seiliog, an unassuming character hidden behind a laptop and guitar whose music, despite a vague sense of repetition, was an interesting combination of electronic and ethereal. Almost otherwordly, it felt like the most suitable soundtrack to the space pursuits mirrored outside of the gig (NASA’s Curiosity rover currently exploring Mars).

Showcasing a barrage of charming wit, H. Hawkline’s stage presence is second to none. This brought to light even more by the contrast to R. Seiliog, who also joined the headliner on drums. A performer who so effortlessly maintains an audience’s attention and adolation for an entire gig is very rare indeed. H. Hawkline hooks people in with as many punchlines as there are riffs.

Despite strained vocals, the show was unsurprisingly faultless. Every track on the Black Domino Box EP has it’s own individual allure andto hear them live only accentuated their appeal. The set constantly flipped between, and sometimes miraculously combined, raucausness and delicacy. Crowd favourite ‘You Say You Love Me’, taken from The Strange Uses ofΒ  Ox Gall album, was also a pleasurable addition to the track list. And although Hawkline himself readily admits he is tired of what is his undoubtedly most popular song, he delivered it with great aplomb.

You can listen to H. Hawkline’s Black Domino Box EP here.