Vena Portae at Green Note
Last night Vena Portae came to play a sold-out gig at Green Note in Camden: an intimate venue with a small capacity.
The band are an alt-folk/Americana act with a mixture of nationalities; lead vocalist Emily Barker hails from Australia and members Ruben Engzell and Dom Coyote are both from Sweden and England respectively (all three are multi-instrumentalists). They played an ebullient and confident set comprising mainly of songs from their eponymously titled album that came out on Humble Soul records on the 18th of August.
An early highlight was Turning Key, an atmospheric track that features some delicate vocal harmonies over restrained instrumentation and melancholic yet catchy piano hooks. Flames and Fury picked up the pace with its up-tempo pop sensibilities, pairing bright guitars and steady drums with lyrics that tell of a tragic and destructive love.
There was a slight hint of The Shins (indie rock) in certain songs – in terms of the vocal arrangements and bounding pace but also in the way that they blend their bright, cheerful energy with emotion – however aside from this most comparisons point towards folk and bluegrass.
Vena Portae finished their set with a cover of Peter Bjorn & John’s hit song Young Folks. They pared down the drums, brought the tempo down and turned the song into a solemn and forceful march that was an interesting departure from the upbeat original.
The lyrical content was definitely rooted in folk tradition yet the words felt considered and personal to the band rather than formulaic. The musicians played flawlessly together throughout the twelve-song set and Barker’s vocals in particular brought the performance up to a level where they might stand out as a cut above similar contemporary folk acts.
For further information about Vena Portae and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Summer Kills here: