Posted by Rebecca Atkinson.
Reviewed on 3rd November 2011.
Live at The Library on Friday, 28th October 2011
Kicking off tonight's showcase of local music for 360 Club and BBC Introducing is Rupert Stroud and two of his musically gifted friends (on drums, keyboard and occasionally acoustic guitar). They open with a nice cover of Adele's 'Rolling In The Deep' which is fairly true to the original before moving onto his self penned, reflective and autobiographical material. Stroud's voice has a beautiful tone to his voice which is especially haunting on 'Chasing The Night' while the other musicians add a richness to the music which makes it more interesting than the typical singer/songwriter acoustic based acts. The majority of the songs are driven by the drumming, be it on the kit or the bongos, which allows the singer to focus on emoting which he does well especially in the powerful choruses. It's a soothing and accomplished display far better than the majority of 'unplugged' acts Stroud would ordinarily be grouped along with.
Stroud is followed by Maggie8 who offer something really innovative and original as trumpets, banjo, melodica and Hindi chanting sit alongside guitar, drums and bass. The vocal transition between Hindi and English seems to make complete sense and the band are so adept at creating mood through their music that it seems completely inconsequential that you cannot understand the majority of the lyrics. Left-field influences are clearly present in the music with one track being a 'mash up' of an old Bollywood song and Pentangle in a manner which is typical of the predictable performance which feels almost like a jam session at points. Consequently not everything quite comes off (the trumpet parts in particular do feel a little out of place and jarring on a couple of the songs) but when they get it right they are fascinating to watch and to listen to.
The Creeks bring a drastic change of pace with their funk tinged rock. It's a mixed bag as vocally and lyrically they are a little uninspiring but musically there is no doubting their ability. It's certainly a captivating performance. Frontman Ste Pye describes every song as 'cheeky' which seems fitting as the set is flashy and unapologetic and a little camp in its excess but they certainly have their fans who dance along merrily throughout. They work the crowd well and their personable stage presence counts for a lot during what could have been quite an unpopular set on this eclectic bill. Overall The Creeks are a really enjoyable live band, especially when they are mid instrumental flow, with big riffs and a well established sound.
Rounding off the evening are ICS (formerly know as I Call Shotgun) with their very, dare I say, 'current' blend of dub, indie and electronica. There is a great deal of interest surrounding the four-piece; according to their spiel they have been number one on the Hype Machine and even Perez Hilton is a fan and tonight they prove their credentials. Lyrically they are excellent and musically the big breakdowns dominate fantastically well composed songs with good synth parts that never feel too contrived. Singer Giuseppe De Luca prowls the room aggressively and in truth his confrontational manner is a little irritating but there is no denying that the band have the talent to back it up. ICS feel like a real finished package and an exciting prospect indeed although it does feel a little strange seeing them in this setting rather than in the basement of a Hyde Park student pad playing host to a drug fuelled house party.
Rupert Stroud is an Acoustic/pop/rock singer/songwriter