Serafina Steer at Bush Hall
The first of two support acts comes in the shape of Simon Bookish, whose act consists of a mixture of spoken and sung narratives about alien invasions, job interviews, and dog excrement. This is performed over an ominous faux industrial score similar in style to what Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross composed for The Social Network. A more accessible description might be Tom Waits’ What’s He Building in There combined with comedic moments akin to Tim Key. It’s just as barmy as it reads.
In wild contrast to Bookish is Younghusband, a four-piece who, from the get-go, are completely mesmerizing. Everything about their sound – from the serene vocals and bewitchingly melodic guitar lines to the big bass hooks and infectious drum patterns – is perfectly judged and executed magnificently.
Tonight, Serafina Steer presents tracks from her latest record The Moths Are Real – an album produced by super-fan Jarvis Cocker, who had much adoration for her 2010 release Change Is Good, Change Is Good, and who is present at Bush Hall. Within moments of Steer’s opening number, her talent is plain for all to see. The lush, sweeping arpeggios of Alien Invasion spill out into the modestly sized, yet somewhat palatial, Bush Hall.
Throughout the set Steer is jovial, and the revolving inclusion of various backing musicians – from violinists, drummers, bassists, and more – prevents the sound from becoming one-dimensional. While Steer’s lyrics and vocal melodies may not be groundbreaking, she is undoubtedly a highly accomplished musician. The standout track is Margoton, a jaunty, high tempo, French nursery rhyme that displays a side to the artist’s performance that moves away from the usual classical sound.
The mini-epic Night Before Mutiny brings the main set to a close and is good enough to have been the evening’s finale. Nonetheless, the crowd is treated to a one-track encore of Day Glo, consisting solely of Steer and her harp, where she once again displays her remarkable musical ability.
Photos: Luna Ingrassia
For further information and future events visit Serafina Steer’s website here.
Watch the video for Night Before Mutiny here: