W Songs: Frida Sundemo, August and Natali Felicia at Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen
Monday night saw another trio of artists hit the stage at the Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen in north London. This time the talent was furnished by Warner Music Group’s new label W Songs, dedicated to showcasing the work of upcoming stars. The evening began on an atmospheric note with some bluesy tunes by the Swedish singer/songwriter from Stockholm Natali Felicia, who came out and performed four of her tracks accompanied only by the steely cords of a moody electric guitar. The basic arrangement, like a gutsier, grittier Norah Jones, lent Natalie’s contemplative, brooding rock a soothing lullaby air – especially her debut single Used to Be – reinforced by the singer’s curious outfit looking rather akin to a nightgown.
Next up was fellow Swede Frida Sundemo. Dressed rather more strikingly in a top resembling a Tron-era circuit board, and hair in two small buns on top of her head à la 90s Björk, Frida summoned the dispersed crowd back from the interval with the loud war drum-like beat of her dazzling 2013 track Home, heralding an all-too-short half-hour of mesmerising electro pop. Her music, clean and crisp like fresh snow, sounds even better live, where the heavy bass – together with the singer’s pixie-like voice – adds a primal rawness to the plastic sheen of the studio original. She followed up her intro with the upcoming single Dreamers, not too different from the previous track – the tribal beat made it seem like a remix at times – however it was a minor problem given the undeniable hypnotic appeal of both. She closed performing two classics, Indigo and A Million Years. Frida’s music, almost a sort of blend between the bubble-gum dance pop of Robyn and the sexy grit of Swedish House Mafia, feels exotically Scandinavian, and she may well turn out to be a worthy addition to the new generation bearing the flag for Swedish pop.
The evening ended on a decidedly different note, courtesy of the rock tunes performed by up-and-coming band August, with a sound faintly recalling Muse and U2. All four tracks were solid and engaging, most notably Sword – so far their only released single – and Animal, although neither was particularly memorable. Nonetheless, this taste of what’s in store certainly sounds like promise for W Songs, and we’ll wait with curiosity for what’s next from tonight’s featured starlets as well as for what the label will offer in future.
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
Watch A Million Years live at Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen here: