Discovery 2 at AAA: Nancy Langton, Charlotte Campbell, Alex Blood and the Diggers, The Swaps
Discovery 2 is a showcase night of new talent held on the final Thursday of every month in the slightly dingy, but acoustically fantastic basement space that musos love – the AAA beneath The Archangel on Kensington High Street. The list of acts that have performed at Discovery 2 is impressive, with names like Ed Sheeran, Scouting for Girls, Sandie Thom and The Guillemots among its alumni. Being located right in the middle of record-label land, this is a cleverly situated venue for showcasing new artists.
Heading out for tonight’s Discovery 2 from Brixton tube station, the touts were out in force with shouts of buy or sell tickets echoing all around the high street and following down the escalator. While the fabulous London Grammar played at the Brixton Academy, another awe-inspiring evening of largely untapped, pure talent was on. Discovery 2 never fails to excite as the programming is always a very eclectic mix of genres, with one key common denominator – that all the acts are sought out for their quality and this usually, with the very occasional exception, makes for a very impressive line-up.
Tonight started with the fabulously velvety soul-blues of Nancy Langton. Definitely a young talent to keep an eye on with such seemingly effortless vocals and an ability to pen an emotive tune. The gutsy vocal of the opening act is followed by another talented singer songwriter, Charlotte Campbell, Campbell, a Brits school graduate and well-known London busker, who certainly knows how to work a crowd, something that’s rather refreshing at a showcase for relatively new talent as this can be something that comes with more experience. But at this showcase, confidence with the audience is certainly not lacking.
Alex Blood and the Diggers hit the stage next, mixing punk, ska, reggae and hip hop with the “cheeky chappiness” of Ian Drury and the Blockheads, with very engaging lyrics of life performed as a story observed by Alex Blood himself. Finally, the Swaps played a mix of folksy country blues with a couple of thoughtfully chosen and well-performed crowd-pleasing covers. The crowd in the venue weren’t quite sure what to make of the rather eclectic group of artists that make up this act as they took to the stage somewhat gingerly, but were soon convinced when the soaring and impressive vocals of lead singer Beth shot out from the stage over an awe-struck audience. This voice, along with the hugely passionate blues harp, played with such incredible conviction by Tomo, were the highlight of the night.