Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Emmy the Great / Laura Groves / Noah and the Whale @ Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, 18 Jan 07
Last Thursay night in East London was a bit chaotic. Liverpool Street Station and the street outside was closed off and the traffic was backing right up Shoreditch High Street. The absence of buses going to Hackney meant that the streets were full of disgruntled communters trudging north. I was in that crowd, but I had more of a spring in my step as I headed to Hoxton Square to see Emmy the Great. I knew it was going to be a good show. In addition to Noah and the Whale, an email from Emmy a few days before had announced that Laura Groves had been added to the bill. Even more to look forward to! And I wasn't disappointed.
Noah and the Whale were great. Their sometimes beautifully fagile, sometimes downright rollocking folky indie pop is a real pleasure that increases as the listens do. They exist in that funny place where they're Emmy the Great's backing band, but are also a band in their own right, featuring Emmy the Great among their number. I guess they're effectively the same band, except sometimes Emmy sings her songs and the rest play them, and other times Charlie sings (his songs - is he the songwriter?) and the rest play them. Given that Emmy is going to be big (if there's any sense in the world), does that mean that Noah and the Whale are going to be big too? Who knows what'll happen then. Anyway, did I say they were great? Maybe they should record some songs and release a record. I'd buy it for sure.
Download: Noah and the Whale - Rocks and Daggers
Download: Noah and the Whale - 5 Years Time
Download: Noah and the Whale - Death By Numbers
By the time Laura Groves took to the stage on her own, there were more people in the venue, and that meant more ignorant idiots talking. All the way through Laura's set. One day when she's big (if there's any sense in the world), they'll say "Oh I saw her way back in January 07 in Hoxton". They didn't really see her. They were too busy talking loudly to their mates about their new skinny jeans or some other inconsequential nonsense. Anyway, Laura was great too. Those of us down the front got a bit of a treat as she sang her lovely, simple songs, in her lovely clear Northern voice. Is it her high-pitched vocals, as well as her alternation between acoustic guitar and keyboards that illicit the Joni Mitchell references some have made? That may be one comparison too far, and a bit of an albatross round young Laura's neck, but give her time to come into her own, and you never know.
Download: Laura Groves - Bridges
More Laura downloads at my previous post.
For the headline act, the one that everyone had come to see, there was a deserved hush. As well as all the songs that we've grown to love dearly throughout last year, there were new songs aired tonight. I don't know all their names, but one of them - Two Steps Forward - is on her myspace now. They all sounded fantastic. Emmy's gorgeous voice soars and tinges a good few spines. Given my past Emmy-enthusing on this blog, of course I'm going to say that I loved it, but my friends who hadn't seen her before were impressed as well. I think everyone was.
It feels like little by little things are going in the right directions for Emmy the Great. A few new songs. The band working out well, and the all the songs sounding great fleshed out by a few more instruments. The Secret Circus 7 inch finally all sold out. A packed out show for only her second headline gig, in a venue a good bit bigger than the first headline show in December. A mooted single for Moshi Moshi sometime soon. Like I said, 2007 should be hers for the taking. If there's any sense in the world, that is.
Download: Emmy the Great - Big Water
Download: Emmy the Great - Aiko (live)
More Emmy downloads at a previous post.
Check the rest of my photos at my Flickr photostream.