Friday, 7 June 2013

Event Review: #MCXTALENT2013 Pt 1 June 1st!


 
After the sun started to get low in the sky at the end of a scorcher of a day in West London, the crowd gathered at new funky venue The Flyover in Notting Hill for the MusicConnex Showcase event. A major date in the diary for all of the real music heads. This was tipped to be a great event with some serious musical talent. Sound checks were over, the doors were open and the crowd was eager. Dressed to the nines; from the grown and sexy to the young and funky, everyone and their best friend, sister and aunt turned up to support these amazing acts. The atmosphere was electric. With support from Dj’s DJG121, Undercover and the man himself JM, the tunes were spinning and the beat was bumping in anticipation.  



 
Charlene
First up was the evening’s co-host Charlene. Who started the show off in true style with fresh and funky tracks and delicate melody lines all wrapped up with catchy playful lyrics. Fantastic vocals. Clean and fresh. Really easy to listen to and vibe to. My favourite track from her set would be ‘Intoxicated’ which had tones of a throw back summers day. Relaxed, chilled, instantly got you hooked to her sound. This songstress is currently working on an album for release later this year and I for one will be excited to hear the finished product.
 
(L-R) Mike Davis and Nate Williams
Next on the bill was the Gentleman of the evening Mr Nate Williams. Nate started playing music at 5 years old and sites his influences as Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones. This definitely came through from the first song ‘Gotta Let go’ with soft delicate chord progressions that were reminiscent of early Jackson tracks. Add to this the raw, stripped back presentation with most tracks using just vocals and either guitar or Hammond, it was a full sensory experience which drew you into the Williams world. It is so hard for me to pick one track out of the set because each one was as amazing as the last. Williams told MusicConnex last night that he will be working on new material as of next week so I am truly excited to see where else this young man can go musically. When I spoke to Honey Larochelle she actually mentioned how Nate Williams set had really stood out to her. Check out his Soundcloud and fall in love with him a little bit like we did.

 






















With influences of old school soul, reggae and gospel Sherry Davis is vocally sublime from the first note. Smooth and strong, her vocals are diverse to say the least. She sings effortlessly whilst supporting herself on keys as if she was born doing this. Its all very natural to Davis. Song wise, there is a really conscious use of the instrumentation to create a really large, driving sound which makes you want to move. My pick of the set would be Star Crossed Lovers from her new EP of the same name released June 3rd. Sherry Davis will continue to grow and I believe, become a regular on our radio waves.


Izzy Bizu
Next up was the youngster of the night Izzy Bizu. Bizu maybe young in years at just 19 years old but there is absolutely nothing about her voice which would mirror that. It was actually breathtaking to hear her perform. The way that she approaches her performance and her vocals is completely individual to anything I have heard in a long time. Her rhythm is so responsive to the music that there’s a whole journey you are taken on through Bizu’s story.

So bouncy and energetic. An organic musician with effortless range. The audience loved this set and really got involved with each track, she also really knew how to get the crowd laughing and was a blast in between tracks. The stand out for me was ‘White Tiger’ which was so powerful. Almost reminded me of being in the audience at a Jill Scott show when you are transfixed to where Scott wants to take you. If Bizu can be this talented at 19, I have no way of imagining where her career will take her can be because she is already phenomenal just as she is. Check Izzy Bizu out at her next show – 17th June, I Luv Live at XoYo.  

Tasita D'Mour

Tasita D’Mour graced the stage next.
This woman is quite simply a vocal power house. That voice! Captivating is a word I could use but there are so many other words to describe a voice like this. D’Mour has worked with so many world-renowned artists because of exactly this. Her tracks are punchy with a big sound. The upcoming single (out on July 22nd) is called ‘Change my Heart’ and its ready for radio. The lyrics are so relatable and her voice on this record is just magical.

Acantha Lang
Acantha Lang; What a voice! What power. What presence. With influences stemming from blues and rock artists such as Coco Taylor, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Led Zepplin and The Stones it was easy to see how this American songstress becomes one with the songs and relays that emotion with her whole being to the crowd.

  Vocally she has a natural rasp to
 her voice, which has touches of an early   Aretha Franklin, but she also has moments where she opens up and allows this buttery soulful tone to flow into the room and fill the space way above the crowd. It’s organic and exquisite. It’s delicate and yet its strong and its always emotional. Each of Lang’s tracks were incredible so again, it was hard to pick a standout.
Finishing off this stellar set was a cover of the 4 Non Blondes hit ‘What’s going on’ and the only way I can describe this moment was ‘stop, look and listen’. This song was not what I would call a cover, it was a completely reworked version to make it have that signature Lang sound and it not only worked, it excelled! The whole crowd were dancing along to the beat – which had a reggae feel on the drums and guitar, absolutely fantastic Lang moment to end on. I need more!

Honey Larochelle
The Honey Bee was in the building as the amazing Honey Larochelle took to the stage to mark the release of her album ‘The Yes Feeling’ out now on iTunes. I got a chance to sit down with this wonderful lady and chat about all of the ingredients to her talent (but more of that later). She opened her set with ‘Be Your Baby’ which has this really 60’s soul feel with luscious lyrics. Shortly after that things became a little cheeky and mischievous with ‘Back of my car’.



This track is so sexy and fun showing off in full colour Larochelle’s playful side perfectly and it’s so catchy! ‘Whose gonna love you’ has the feeling of the girl groups such as the Marvelettes or the Supremes. You can just picture a three piece backing group swaying side to side in sympathetic heartbreak. Following this came ‘I Open My Heart’ which has a relaxed reggae feel and has a fantastic hook that’s easy to sing along to. The single ‘Heaven’ is next in this already amazing performance and it is yet another example of just how charismatic Larochelle is behind the microphone. She literally commands the stage with an effortless energy. Each song gives you a taste of her huge range and vocal versatility and she does it all with ease. Her tone is so easy to listen to even though it is undeniably powerful in every song. Track after track the set just grew to a crescendo moment. This lady truly knows how to connect with her audience in a way that creates a loyalty and support of her. Once you hear her, you are on her team. Team Larochelle is gathering people as it spins worldwide and I am definitely one of them.

 



 
This was an absolutely unbelievable line up. It’s a very rare thing to have so much talent in one showcase but MusicConnex made that happen. With each act, the energy just continued to build and grow. The music was both appreciated and supported by the dedicated crowd, such a wonderful atmosphere. At the end of the night there was only one question left to ask – when’s the next showcase?


Review written by: Claire Cripps

Photography by: AJ



Having fallen in love with music at a young age whilst listening to the likes of Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, Michael Jackson, Booker T & the MG's & Bob Marley in her parents record collection, music has been a consistent force in Claire's life. After studying music at college & university, she went on to work in the music industry and decided to start a blog called gigglesandfits.com as an outlet for all of the amazing music she would hear around her. Claire is an avid supporter of new music and the live industry.




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