Hudson Taylor at Scala
Alfie Hudson-Taylor scans the audience of London’s Scala, grinning excitedly at rows of familiar faces. Following the release of 2015’s Singing for Strangers, it seems Hudson Taylor’s audience are no longer strangers but loyal fans who know and sing along to every track word-for-word. This was an easygoing gig that seamlessly combined crowd-pleasers and snippets of new, catchy material.
Hudson Taylor, comprised of siblings Harry and Alfie, first shot to fame on YouTube and are known for their modern take on folk and close vocal harmonies. Opening their set with an energetic and bluesy Travellin’, they went on to play older tracks Care, Open Up and Butterflies with a noticeably rockier and anthemic, upbeat vibe than if we were to simply hear them on the radio. Once the crowd were settled in, it was time to unleash the new. A departure from their usual acoustic-led sound, fun but sassy Easy Baby was a perfect choice featuring poppy keyboard chords and the lyrics, “If I wanted to, I’d get back at you, it would only be too easy baby”. Usually, a band trying to debut too much material might be taking a risk, but in this case it was no effort for the audience to pick up a fresh song. To make an even louder statement that these were tunes worth listening to, One in a Million was performed quietly around a single microphone, showcasing the raw, sweetly blended harmonies whilst people shushed one another to get a good earful.
Even though there are some darker lyrical undertones, Hudson Taylor’s music is – on the whole – relentlessly tambourine-shaking-feel-good. This was amplified by the five-piece live band, all talented musicians in their own right as shown by a beautifully piercing violin intro for World Without You, jazzy trills on the keys and even a melodica, all of which could be easily missed and ought to be appreciated in person. The Hudson-Taylors may be blood-related, but the band came together like a family; each had their own microphone for bonus layers of harmonic texture. Alfie’s soulful lead vocals were crystal clear but the real magic happens when the two brothers simply rock out together.
Hudson Taylor’s new sound doesn’t necessarily sound new, as there’s an infectious but familiar knack about it that incorporates the influence of old school rock’n’roll. It may be playing it safe, but it’s terrific fun on stage. Latest single Run with Me contains the lyrics, “We’re all in for the long road” – with a successful trial of songs, the rest of their European tour, and a second album to drop sometime soon, those lyrics are as on-point as Alfie’s signature quiff.
Photos: Guifré de Peray
For further information and future events visit the Hudson Taylor website here.
Watch the video for Feel It Again here: