Goldheart Assembly at The Borderline
As the overhead lighting casts a red glow on stage, it seems almost a forewarning of a weak set as the London alternative pop/rock band Goldheart Assembly get started at The Borderline in Soho.
Opening with Billy in the Lowground from their latest album, Long Distance Song Effects, they begin with a short drum intro followed by a compilation of guitars and keyboard – the sound comes off initially as uncoordinated with the feedback from the microphones creating heavy distortion and discord. However, the technical issues fade within the first 30 seconds, their instrumentals come together melodically and the band is suddenly much more at ease – synchronized and jovial as they harmonize together.
Stephanie and the Ferris Wheel showcases more of their depth with James Dale on lead vocals and guitar, strikingly carrying the sentimental lyrics “sit with me on the Ferris wheel”. His pitch is higher but his voice is compelling and strangely familiar. Drummer Nicky Francis plays the xylophone softly, adding a sweet lullaby-like effect and Jake Bowser’s keyboard solo sounds gentle and soothing but picks up in pace as the drumming starts up and the number finishes energetically with the crowd cheering eagerly.
Bird on a Chain is the most absorbing song of the night, with John Herbert starting out solo on keyboard and vocals, then moving to the trumpet. The pace is slow on keys and his tone is dejecting, yet convincing. The reverb on his microphone echoes the words “I guess no one is dreaming of me tonight” and it leaves a sorrowful, lasting impression. As Herbert transitions to the trumpet and Bowser takes over mid song, the wrong notes are hit and the moment is broken but the mood is lighthearted and they carry on, accompanied by the rest of the band as well as a small brass section made up of a secondary trumpet and two French horns. The amalgam takes the tone from downhearted to angry and then destroyed in an unexpectedly wild composition for the finale.
They return for a three-track encore but it’s Engraver’s Daughter that exhibits how well Dale and Herbert complement one another vocally. Their style is telling with emotion and as the rhythm picks up, the crowd is moving and singing along to their verses.
A playful and engaging set from a group that is sure to impress as they continue to challenge the norms of the genre.
Photos: Indrek Galetin
For further information and future events visit Goldheart Assembly’s website here.
Watch the video for Stephanie and the Ferris Wheel here: