Summer may have forsaken us and fallen by the wayside, but fear ye not faithful ones because Daylight has returned…Daylight, that is in the shape of the London music festival held at the Union Chapel in Islington. Back once again to present an eclectic collection of some of the most exciting music the capital can throw at you. And as ever, all for the princely sum of nothing.
Steven Finn kicks off this season’s proceedings this Saturday (20th September at 12pm), with his own brand of folk and blues, there’s a firm clarity and warmth to his vocals. Making him something of rock steady proposition in the listening stakes. Have a listen to the surprisingly rabble rousing delivery of ‘Hail To The Thief’ on his myspace page, despite the simplistic arrangement of voice and harmonica you could imagine marching behind him on some journey or errand…or something. His lyrical standpoint has a resolute relevance with themes and issues in today’s society while his skill as a musician oozes the authenticity needed to be credible in his chosen genre, both factors make him all the more compelling to listen to.
Following on is Matthew Sawyer & The Ghosts (1pm), I took an immediate shine to this lot courtesy of ‘Myna Bird Call’ with it’s infectious acoustic guitar line, and the somewhat distant detached and downright haunted vocal, there’s a wonderful sense of the dilapidated at work in these songs. With a sense of narration that is barely holding itself together (have a listen to The Farey Tree and you’ll see what I mean). Elsewhere tracks like ‘Heartbreaker’ throw a bit of weight down on the throttle and prove that the band can consistently weave infectious backdrops to sit behind the lyrical stories.
Joel Barker (onstage at 2pm) weighs in next with his own rootsier take on the folk genre, with a clarion like vocal that sits abreast thick set organic sounding guitar work. Have a listen to the slow building ‘Weight In Silver’ (again on his myspace page) moving to a crescendo before breaking down into gentle warm percussion. Elsewhere you have the frenetic steel sprung guitar work of ‘Something For Everyone’. Joel has a really accomplished musical style that should stand him in good stead at the Chapel.
Finally (at 3pm) we have Elite Barbarian (coolest band name of the week…surely) with a squalling brand of electronica which made my laptop’s speakers go funny for a bit. Marvellous stuff mixing hypnotic slightly claustrophobic sounds (sometimes a bit John Carpenter-ish) with glitchy itchy beatwork. The builds are slow and pensive but in this case that’s what it is all about. Have a listen to the fierce spark laden ‘Fire Power’ and you will see what I mean. Whereas ‘Going Down’ sounds like steam trains moving in a vacuum. Marvellous stuff concluding a sparkling opening lineup.