Monday, January 23, 2012

Subtly rocking the XOYO for Q

23rd January 2012 - Q Now: The SessionsDry The River supported by Clock Opera & Rae Morris at XOYO, London

I returned to XOYO for the first time in 2012 – having experience a wide variety of great live music there in 2011 – as usual they were running late and the bands hadn’t finished sound checking when the doors should have opened… The cold chill of January in London wasn’t a problem as they now have a bar upstairs to wait in…

From Q Now - The Sessions - Dry The River, Clock Opera, Rae Morris
The first act on the programme was 18 year old Rae Morris – from Blackpool – offering to advise on the best places to get fish & chips in that locale should any of the audience be in the area… Rae appeared to be very nervous – but she had no need to be – it is acts like hers that are the reason to get to gigs for all the support acts. Rae opened without introduction with a new song Back to Front – then confessed she’d gone straight into that number otherwise she’d have not had the courage to perform it. Her set of six songs was perfectly formed – she filled the room with a mature sound that could have graced any venue in London and not been out of place – Q have definitely found a potential new star to join the group of great female vocalists representing the UK in the world of music.
Clock Opera certainly had a high bar set for them vocally… The foursome added guitars and drums plus a tray, tankard and what looked like a milk or sugar jar from a tea set!  As you’d expect from a band who have been performing for 3+ years the wasn’t any sign of nerves caused by selection by Q as one to watch this year – they took the sound up a level and filled the basement of XOYO with an eclectic mix of rock, electronic, indie and ambient sound – really hard to pigeon hole them into one genre. It certainly warmed the audience up after the relaxing opener from Rae.
From the appearance of Dry The River, I thought I was in for another night when the promoters haven’t managed to find a set of artist all of whom would appeal to the same audience – but that impression only proved that you shouldn’t judge a book/band by its cover/appearance – I’d just expected more of a rock/metal sound from a group of 5 guys sporting tattoos and long hair!  The give away should have been the presences of a violin on stage – always a good indication that you are going to get something more complex than the normal 4/5 guys with drums, guitars and a keyboard… That’s not saying that Dry The River didn’t have a number of songs in their set that would have been very at home during a night of rock/metal – they did – but they also have a repertoire songs that display subtly that you’d not expect from a “rock band” – particular impressive was when they choose to “go unplugged” – bring quiet to a venue far more used to the loud sound of a fully amped band…

Q have kicked of this short series with a great evening of music – the expectation have been set high for the other participants that follow this week – anyone looking to hear some of the likely new sounds of 2012 are highly advised to arrive early to make sure they catch the support bands as well as some of the better know headliners…

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