Thursday, 11 May 2017

SOUND OF THE SIRENS + SADIE HORLER + JOHN STEWART – LIVE REVIEW

Creative Edge presents Sound of the Sirens + Sadie Horler + Stuart Taylor live @ PSCA, Plymouth – 10/05/2017

Stuart Taylor (Photo: Marielle Newton)
There’s something slightly punky and surreal about walking in to a school at 7.30pm for a gig and being offered a beer from the pop up bar.Those innovative guys at Creative Edge have circumnavigated the lack of mid-sized venues in Plymouth by putting on a gig in the performance space of the relatively new Creative Arts school in Britain’s Ocean City. And what a space it is? Fully seated in lecture theatre style but with some of the most pin point and crisp sound I’ve heard in a long time – this is not just a pub gig my friend. Up first in this unique space is Stuart Taylor along with his co-conspirator Bernie who created a warmth in a fairly cold space with their own take on acoustic indie-rock originals. Some well-placed harmonies and delicately placed guitar interplay set the tone for the evening with an attentive audience and a space with little to distract from the music.
Sadie Horler (Photo: Marielle Newton)
There isn’t so much a stage here as a space on the floor marked out by guitars, microphones and a few cables. As Sadie Horler enters this space, like a sacrifice walking in to a pentagram, it feels like we’re stepping back in time to see a young Janis Joplin. Dressed in bohemian garb, Horler had a huge reputation to live up to and, I have to admit, I was initially unimpressed. There was, I thought, a sense of naivety about her performance and almost rehearsed links between the songs – her cover of Pulp’s ‘Common People’ was nicely arranged and performed but seemed to lack the essence of what that classic people’s anthem is all about. However, something happened around mid-set that kind of clicked with me – I realised she was just being honest. You see, Sadie Horler is just 16 years old and like most teenagers is looking at the world with eyes that are as wide with wonder as they are wide with terror. Her voice is cripplingly beautiful with a real Jazz vibe about it and her guitar playing is delicate, subtle and well placed. What set’s this Exeter songstress apart, however, is her innocent and unaffected lyric writing that speaks with humour, pathos and a real honesty that is an extremely rare commodity these days. Closing song ‘Why Should I Tidy My Room When The World’s Such A Mess?’ is the perfect example of this songwriting talent that some might see as teenage angst….because it is….because she’s a teenager. Teenage angst performed to chilled out Jazz vibes, an intriguing and beguiling combination.

It wasn’t long before the anticipated headliners Sound of the Sirens took to the stage space to whoops and applause – the Exeter duo have been knocking on the door of sustainable success for a while with the backing of pretty much anyone that has the pleasure of hearing them. Looking like a pair of folk troubadours frozen in time since the 1950s with a new hair do upon defrosting, the pair set about working through material from their new debut album with their trademark vocal harmonies and rhythmic guitar work. Songs like ‘The Voices’ and ‘Grow’ show of the hard work that Abbe and Hannah have put in to perfecting their art as the vocals intertwine around each other and the guitars bounce off one another. An unexpected Madonna cover crept in due to their need to rehearse for a TV appearance (‘Like A Prayer’ if you wanted to know) and some of their more up tempo material caused a conga line to break out which would surely be disapproved of during assembly the following morning.

Sound of the Sirens (Photo Marielle Newton)
Aside from the music, the chemistry between to the two is absolutely enthralling and I’ve never heard so much laughter at a gig that isn’t a comedy gig – stories around impulse clothing purchases in Brighton, Jane MacDonald, an oversized banner and men in drag have the audience in raptures, cementing their relationship with the band. Then again, Sound of the Sirens have the ability to bring a tear to the eye and a lump to the through with some of their more tender material. All in all, what we have here is a pair of musicians who have found success with expertly written songs, hugely engaging performances and the kind of personalities that just draw people in. The tour goes on, the album comes out this month and TV, Radio and Press appearances are gathering pace - the time of Sound of the Sirens is now, are you coming along for the ride?

More information:



Creative Edge – https://www.facebook.com/creative.edge.events.uk/

Marielle Newton Photography - https://www.mariellephotography.co.uk/

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