For over 1,200 days now, the Guardian’s Paul Lester has been hunting down the hottest and fastest rising stars in music for his (aptly titled) New Band of the Day column, Such is the success of Lester’s up-to-the-minute scribblings, the Guardian have started showcasing some of the fresh talent on offer. Tonight’s show at Camden Barfly is the second New Band of the Day Live shows and features five names you’ll surely hear more from later this year.
The first name you may recognise from a certain family member. Opening tonight are the gloriously grungey Violet fronted by none other than Pixie Geldof (pictured at top) – yes, Bob’s daughter. Ignore your preconceptions, though, as Pixie delivers a serene dream-poppy performance that wows the audience – even Bob, himself. Similar to Warpaint, Violet’s soft yet powerful neo-grunge drowns the Barfly in a wave of operatic vocals and haunting music through upcoming single ‘Y.O.U.’, ‘Starlight’ and the harmoniously heartfelt ‘Feet First’.
Just a few minutes after Violet finish in the upstairs venue, downstairs the former Magic Number Michele Stodart is treating the sold out crowd of bloggers and blaggers to the Americanised, bluesy stylings of her new solo outing. Dancing between the upbeat and the sombre, Stodart and her minstrels get the floor moving. Slightly. At times it sounds as though you’ve heard the guitar before, but Stodart’s vocal prowess dominates the performance and the addition of a glockenspiel and accordion adds a welcome new dimension.
Back upstairs it’s a rapid change of pace from London’s most energetic two-piece BIGkids. Fronted by another famous daughter, Rosie Oddie (of badger hassler Bill) and featuring Ben Hudson aka Mr Hudson on electrics, this DIY danceathon gets the party into one monumental swing. The infectious, pop rhythms and bouncy beats send the hyperactive Rosie into overdrive, throwing shapes you’ve never seen before! The big band jazz ethic blends with the modern electronic style and funky bass undertone that spreads joy to the masses who are beaming. Tracks such as ‘You Are Amazing’ and ‘Coming Together’ see the dynamic duo firmly press their stamp on the evening, but it’s Rosie’s voice that can straddle the soul diva twang, London rap and overt popstastic loveliness that makes these stars shine bright tonight.
Closing the downstairs section of tonight’s celebration of new music is the only artist with a number one single under his belt – Josh Kumra. Since featuring on last year’s summer fave ‘Don’t Go’ with Wretch 32, Kumra has seen his notoriety spread throughout the UK. Staying firmly in the vein of Ed Sheeran, although his vocal ability has a wider variation, the ‘one man and his guitar’ shtick is beginning to wear thin. However, closing on an acoustic cover of MGMT‘s ‘Kids’ is a real crowd-pleaser that he adapts to fit his own style but manages to keep the original in tact. The audience’s applause appears to both humble and amuse Kumra who is obviously still getting used to the attention.
One singer/songwriter who thrives off the crowd’s energy is another man who has found success through Wretch 32 – Angel. Hit single ‘Go In, Go Hard’ is reminiscent of big players Tinie and Tinchy in its delivery but in a scene dominated by grime, Angel is keeping r’n’b alive. Hailing from Shepherd’s Bush, he’s a favourite with the London crowd tonight, and he knows it. Bouncing around the stage like a powerball in a New Era hat, Angel woos the women in the house tonight with his uplifting, catchy words in ‘Raining Girls’ and ‘Wonderful’. Throughout the set, rows of camera phones litter the eye-line to record what could be one of the most intimate shows Angel plays again. Tonight’s performance elevates the rapper and his crew to the heights of his peers with his multi-layered r’n’b that features wailing rawk guitar, dubstep-friendly bass and a jungle drum beat hidden beneath. All these elements comprise one of the freshest sounds coming out of London today that could see Angel ascend into upper echelon of mainstream music.