New music at Bull and Gate as E.J. and The Tenfivesixty wow the crowd
One of the UK’s leading independent record labels, Fierce Panda, presented a night of new music at London’s Bull and Gate, Kentish Town, last night (15th February). New artists can always be a bit hit and miss but live new music also provides viewers with the chance to see acts raw, before struggling to escape their songs on the radio.
Swedish born artist E.J., who has already been targeted as a soon to be big name, went on stage first. Her recent single Mama, I’m Gonna Sing, due to be released on 11th March, has already been receiving great public response. Starting off with Mama, I’m Gonna Sing a cappella, E.J. immediately drew all the public attention towards her; even though she jokes: “Most people here are friends or people working with us”, looking at the small crowd gathered. Her Hip Hop influences are undeniable but songs such as Drama Queen showed that E.J. does not only have legs for days but is also a talented singer. E.J. and her three musicians’ short yet lively and soulful first ever live performance, gave the audience a taste of what they can look forward to as she makes her way into the spotlight.
Youngster Maz Totterdell, appearing after EJ, is perhaps unlucky as she comes into a crowded market, one in which it would be difficult for artists with twice her experience to stand out. Although, on the night the Devonian perhaps struggled to catch the imagination, the 15-year-old displayed a vocal talent and gumption that will serve her well as she matures as an artist.
Next up were The Tenfivesixty, with strains of Durutti Column, Elastica and much else besides one would bank on them becoming huge. Impressive guitar work and use of pedals, a drummer who goes further than hitting every beat and a no nonsense presence which charms yet intimidates, meant that songs like Killer’s Son and Do This For Me had people struggling to decide whether to dance or stare in fascination. Yet merely describing Jenny Bailey and Rick Hornby’s band like this doesn’t quite do justice to the experience of seeing them – so refreshing is it to see a band that does barnstorming guitar pop with sophistication this well. Contrary to popular myth, the Britpop era wasn’t just about guitar bands being cool, or tucking in your Ben Sherman shirt, or Chris Evans talking about Blur and Oasis. The astonishing thing about that time was how many bands managed to take sophisticated techniques and turn them into a sound that just blew people away. In The Tenfivesixty we may well have found the heirs to this tradition and watching them live, even in a small venue like The Bull and Gate, was an experience which those who were there are unlikely to forget.
Headliner Candice Gordon couldn’t quite top the energy and all round brilliance of The Tenfivesixty but her thoughtful yet raucous blues and dark burlesque sensibilities certainly made for an act that more than piqued the interest of the crowd. The incongruous use of a brass section reminded one of The Pogues, which given that Shane MacGowan was involved with her debut album is perhaps understandable. As yet she lacks the charisma and sense of wantonness of her collaborator, but with songs like the dark When the Sunset Ends in her repertoire she certainly did enchant in her own way.
A varied bill then, with each artist in their own way showcasing the joys of going to watch new music: a youngster with much to learn, a should be next big thing and a dark temptress closing the night. Rough around the edges but full of talent, for those who like their music fresh, it’s an evening one can recommend.
Mark Worgan, Anne-Line Crochet