The False and the Fair Whelans, Dublin Live Review

Live Reviews, Uncategorized
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The False and The Fair; EP launch at Whelans, Dublin (18-11-2018); photo credit: imagery.by.ro

Despite the late switch to the larger venue tonight, there wasn’t much room to move in Whelans for The False and The Fair’s EP launch. Ahead of the main event, we were treated to fantastic support from Aisling Jarvis and a solo performance from Vernon Jane.

The False and The Fair arrived on stage to the ambient glow of a projector showing off their new EP artwork, kicking off with their always popular “Blue Bottles Blues”. The catchy riff helped set the tone for the evening as they passionately launched into their ever increasing and established repertoire.

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It’s hard to pin down a genre for The False and the Fair, they play their unique and brand of hard rocking blues-folk but they are not afraid to branch out into different styles with the likes of “Psychedelic Smile” (which features on the new EP) that wouldn’t be out of place on a Radiohead album.

 

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They were joined by a host of guests on the stage during the night, including the familiar face of Emily Jane from Vernon Jane who jumped in to lend her vocals to the fan favourite: “Bald Apes” (just as she had done on the recorded version).

The evening drew to a close with one encore, the lead (and personal highlight) track lifted from their EP: “The Space in Between”. The band were joined on stage by a trio of backing singers which enhanced their already expansive sound, giving an edge fans hadn’t seen before. All in all, it was yet another great set from the South Dublin band which certainly piqued interest here tonight – there’s really no limit to how far these guys can go!

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Their new EP: ‘The Space In-Between’ is out now!

FOLLOW THE FALSE AND THE FAIR ON: SPOTIFY // TWITTER // FACEBOOK // INSTAGRAM

WORDS: Niall McDermott: @NiallMcDermott7

Photos: Róisín: Imagery By Ró

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Feng Suave // Sebright Arms // Live Review

Live Reviews, Uncategorized
Feng Suave; Spiral Magazine

Amsterdam-based psych-soul band ‘Feng Suave’ at The Sebright Arms (05/12/18)

When you see a band mid-week amidst the hustle and they not only unhinge you from your daily life, but in their wake, completely re-adjust your focus, that’s something beyond the control of the many. Feng Suave’s lo-fi psychedelia blends silky bass and reverb’d guitar wrapped around soulful vocals. And when paired with their sensitive lyrics, you cannot help but be encouraged to reconsider what we otherwise take for granted; the stars above our heads and the earth at our feet is all we need. Keeping grounded and in touch with the harmony to be had with natural world is the result of Feng Suave induced daydreaming.

Tonight (5th Dec), was the third night of their first tour, the final UK date and, as one half of Feng Suave, Daniel De Jong, told me after the show, was without doubt the “highlight of the tour so far”. Being their first tour, De Jong wasn’t too sure his vocals would last the duration, a question that had never entered my mind, especially given tonight’s established performance. His lead singer duties required his every vocal range and tone, even the soft croon and hushed notes were used to their full capacity – and you had to hand it to him, his pitch-shifting vocals were mesmerising. As an outfit, the keyboardist, drummer and guitar trio were cool and collected. They gifted us with their grace and warmth.

The evening may have been just as intimate as De Jong went onto compare with the Servants Jazz Quarters (their last London show) but there was definitely something magical about tonight. The interaction from their sold out crowd in response to their every track must have felt pretty rewarding, with the greatest audience chorus arriving with ‘Sink Into The Floor’. Their latest single: Venus Flytrap (an instant hit with BBC 6 Music) and the encore: Notre Ochre were personal highlights.

On the back of a successful year, amassing millions of streams for their eponymously titled debut EP, this tour for the Dutch duo (and touring ensemble) certainly cemented them as ones to watch here in the UK. There’s also a pretty good chance everyone went out into the night floaty, finding “…solace in just noticing the stars above..” It might be momentary but it’s all that we need, truly.

Follow Feng Suave on: Spotify // Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

 

Bellevue Days // Live Review // Brighton

Live Reviews, Uncategorized
Bellevue Days; Will Steadman

Bellevue Days at Green Door Store, Brighton, 24/11/17

We left London’s 229 on a high last October after seeing the Croydon-based four piece, Bellevue Days combine their elements of grunge, punk and post-hardcore in ear-pleasing anthemic glory.

Tonight, nestled under Brighton’s train station at The Green Door Store the beer soaked cobble stone floors and damp air sets the perfect scene for their dark, emotionally charged sound. Opening with Let’s All Be Friends from their debut EP, 2015’s The Sun Came Up When We Were Young, it’s satisfying to see how their original material still has a place live. They introduce newer songs, including Jack and I, with its themes of self-loathing, fear and denial: ‘I’ll just blame myself for everything and get drunk…lay in the park and pretend everything’s OK’, and new track Shotgun is a preview from their upcoming album.

Over the past year Bellevue Days have been recording and promoting the release of their third EP, Rosehill, and writing new material for a debut album planned for 2018. Live, they’ve made festival appearances over the summer and have been on a UK tour throughout October and November; it’s their second appearance on the South Coast in recent weeks.

As well as keeping busy with touring and recording, it’s clear that they’ve come on leaps and bounds creatively since first catching our attention. Polished and confident, they are experts at using dynamics intelligently; the relentless shifts of mood take the listener on a boisterous journey akin to a joyride. This is most evident in recent single: Faith, which they deliver live with both rawness and sensitivity. You can feel genuine pain in Dan Lukes’ vocals, which are almost whispered in parts, before it erupts; the band return, smashing back in with the force of a juggernaut! They continue with perhaps their most celebrated track, Ripped Jeans, before finishing their slick set with Black Sleep Baby.

A band to keep your eyes peeled for next year…we’re very much hoping 2018 will be their year.

Bellevue Days // Soundcloud // Twitter // Facebook

Words and photographyWILL STEADMAN (@STEADMAN_WILL)

Foy Vance // Union Chapel // Live Review

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

Foy Vance; Union Chapel; Spiral Magazine; Will SteadmanFoy Vance turned the Union Chapel into his living room last Friday night, entertaining a 900-strong crowd with his commanding, modern blend of Americana, folk, roots, and blues. Leaving his band at home in Bangor, Northern Ireland; a piano, acoustic guitar, and a ukulele is all that was needed to bring a warm glow to this corner of North London on a brisk Autumn evening.

Opening powerfully at the piano with Unlike Any Other, the audience falls pin-drop silent. Eager grins radiate through the pews like a mini Mexican wave of awe. Vance establishes an immediately casual, intimate atmosphere, drawing the crowd in with his dry wit, self-deprecation and off-the-cuff approach to the set, almost like we’re all sat round a big camp fire. Making use of loop pedals and plenty of chorus effect, he switches between instruments and segues between songs with ease.

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Introduced to his music five years ago by a friend who insisted I listen to a then, little-known B-side called: Indiscriminate Act of Kindness, which he said, is such a perfect example of a well-crafted song, that he teaches it as part of the songwriting degree he runs at a renowned London music college – I’ve seen Vance go from a relative unknown jobbing songwriter to a respected veteran with a top 30 album and a recent tour with Elton John under his belt. Despite all this, he has retained an air of exclusivity about him, and is backed tirelessly by a loyal fan base.

As the night progresses he showcases songs from 2016’s: ‘The Wild Swan’ including Coco and Upbeat Feel Good; favourites Guiding Light and Closed Hand Full of Friends; several shrewd covers including a divine version of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ on grand piano and a sprinkling of newer material including Moonshine.

Vance is an artist bold enough and free enough to create precisely the music he wants. Authentic, genuine and committed to his craft, while many contemporaries at his career-stage creatively stagnate or decline, he has matured as a writer and performer. Live he excels. Natural, relaxed and oozing with confidence; playing unaccompanied tonight elevates Vance and provides him the space to showcase his (quite frankly) outstanding voice, which resonates around the Chapel’s gothic interior, filling every dark nook and cranny. Its intricate and rich timbre warms you like a well-aged bourbon.

Performing for well over two hours in total with no encore, capping it off with a moving a capella rendition of The Wild Swans on The Lake, inspired by W.B. Yeats’ poem The Wild Swans at Coole, with the audience dutifully humming the drone.

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Vance sold-out the Union Chapel across the three nights, Thursday to Saturday (2nd-4th Nov). His outstanding album, The Wild Swan, is out now.

Follow Foy Vance on Twitter // Facebook

Words and Photography: WILL STEADMAN (@STEADMAN_WILL)

 

Acid Baby Jesus // Live Review // London

Live Reviews, Uncategorized
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Acid Baby Jesus rocking The Victoria, Dalston (13/09/17)

It’s not often you discover a band that aligns with both a local show of theirs, plus an album release and, most importantly, happen to be one of the best modern bands out there. Acid Baby Jesus, a psych-garage-rock four piece from Athens, Greece, exceed (my already great) expectations onstage The Victoria, Dalston that it’s impossible to take your attention away from them; they have the audience in the palm of their hand. Playing to a sold out London crowd, up front everyone has just about enough room to bounce off one another, becoming comfortably close and sweaty, lead singer Noda plays off the audience and vice-versa, wanting to get “..everything loose and groovy” from the get go, the crowd’s response to throw some acid out, launches into the familiar footing of ‘Vegetable’ where audience participation comes easily. Tonight, older material is mixed with songs from the latest album ‘Lilac Days’ (29/09/17) which guitarist Tili eagerly wants to share with us and everyone can’t wait to get a piece of, by their set’s closure: “We only just got our hands on it today and it’s available to buy over there from our very much fifth band member, Kris”. IMG_3661

The experimental moments are tonight’s highlights, and when you attempt to pair their sound to another you’re left with so many cross references and contradictions – 60’s psychedelia to garage-punk to 70’s prog-rock, they even throw in a bit of glam-rock; comparisons to Marc Bolan’s aesthetics are natural with frontman Noda’s effervescent stage persona along with his silver glittered eyes, just about distinguishable under masses of curly hair.

There are so many off the wall moments and stand out guitar solo’s that everyone here tonight is left completely satisfied and speechless by Acid Baby Jesus’s departure. Speaking just days beforehand with drummer, Marko, he offered us a very valuable point in how modern music is so fortunate to have such an timeless back catalogue of ‘greats’ to reference: “…it’s the first time a whole generation grows up with all the history of recorded music at our disposal”. When you consider the concept of Rock n’ Roll, akin to an artist emulating another movement through their painting, Impressionism for instance, yet distinctly follows a path of their own making; as Marko continues “…rock n’ roll as an art form has strong roots in certain traditions and sounds. We try to continue on that path while bringing our own sensibilities to it”, all comparisons to other musicians becomes almost irrelevant. Acid Baby Jesus are exceptional artists in their own right, one’s that are set to become a legacy of our generation; long live Rock n’ Roll!

Acid Baby JesusWebsite // Facebook

Words and photography: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Lucy Rose // Live Review // Rio Cinema

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

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There’s not many gigs where you find yourself sitting in cinema seats and with the own artists brand of tea in hand, then again, Lucy Rose is a different cut of jib altogether. Tonight, headlining Rio Cinema, Dalston, on the day Lucy’s latest (impressive 3rd) record: ‘Something’s Changing’ made BBC 6Music’s Record Of The Day, we were treated to an evening of heart-warming stories and songs, accompanied by a showreel of her South American documentary. The endearing footage comes back full circle to her latest record which was shaped by these life changing experiences of living in the homes of her South American fanbase and performing at gigs booked on their behalf. The journey moved her to feel challenged by a surge of emotions incomparable to any other life experiences, bringing to light the desire to want to continue music. Music has been a challenge as of late, Lucy share with us tonight, and how it “has been a huge beacon of hope that labels like Communion exist”.

 

Between songs Lucy allows everyone to feel at home, it’s her openness in confessing to occasional nervousness (“I tend to worry a lot”) almost welling up at certain song intro’s, and making jokes about her husband’s upcoming tambourine moment that “when practicing in the living room last night he wouldn’t stop moaning: ‘I don’t want to do it’,” made tonight a special footing for artist and audience alike. Lucy’s humility, sensitivity and quiet confidence rang true to our nodding and grinning faces, and it proved hard to ignore the warmth of familiarity that brought me back to Stornoway and their likeminded fanbase.

“This next song is called ‘Moirai’, named after the Greek Goddess of fate. The older I get I realise that it isn’t fate, it just isn’t fair”. The emotions are palpable as peoples stories and songs alike unravel, and it’s only having seen her documentary and when we hear these experiences tonight, that the latest material becomes unlocked. Track: “I Can’t Change It All’ is a testament to this: “…I couldn’t believe his story, his life. We took him on a train. Little things…I remember him saying how this was the best day of his life. I thought about saving up to help him but thought it was a bit weird. So I decided to write him a song. He was obsessed with London too, so we invited him to stay with us. I’ll never forget receiving this call from customs, explaining how they had a boy who was convinced he was living with a singer who he booked a gig for back home in Paraguay and that she had invited him to live with them for 2 weeks”.

Lucy delivers humour with a poignancy; laughable moments are simultaneously   pensive. Track: ‘Second Chance’ was written in light of her Aunt-in-Law’s line of thought: “Christmas, reminiscing over photos she said to me ‘I would never have thought that was a nice photo, yet as an old woman I can say that’ – that really stuck with me”. We complete the omission, and by the gig’s finale with old favourite ‘Shiver’, we walk away more self-assured and with a renewed sense of carpe diem.

Something’s Changing was released 07/07/17 via Communion Records.

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Lucy Rose: Website // Twitter // Facebook

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

Ten Fe // Live Review // The Great Escape

Live Reviews, The Great Escape 2017, Uncategorized

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At the stroke of midnight we were on countdown in the gardens of Wagner Hall, kicking back in the bar, preparing ourselves for our beach bound venture to Ten Fé, a band who one of the team hasn’t stopped rating since their recent sublime Hackney show. Since checking them out myself, they’ve literally been SoundClouding my life, so as you can imagine, I was fair to excited to catch them live.

DSCF0036newHitting the seafront at 1am, we bumped into the most friendliest drunks you could meet. It was at the point we mentioned “The Arch” to the flyer lady who attempted convincing us that Coalition was the place tonight for wristband holders to gain half price drinks the Swiss chap to much delight chanted “Yes, Ten Fé, Ten Fé!!” We were in mirrored excitement and between us, it felt so good to share this band love. As one friend apologised for the other’s drunkenness, the other began singing along to ‘Elodie’ as the accompanying YouTube video started…“So we’ll see you later, we’re just helping the lady hand out the leaflets”. We sadly never spotted them again, although we had an inkling they made it into the gig – as I filmed Ten Fé’s performance of ‘Elodie’ we could see Ben smiling as he sang: “…singing the lines that were meant for me”. There was so much love tonight amongst us in the tightly packed beach alcove, for a band very much on the rise, owing to the recent release of their stunning debut: ‘Hit The Light’ (February 2017).

 

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Possessing refreshing confidence without pretence and bravado and a sound that sites references from The Cure through to The War On Drugs whilst retaining that one of a kind sublimity achieved from the unique combination in having two very strong, and different, dual lead singer-songwriters, Leo Duncan and Ben Moorhouse, Ten Fé were all in all as engaging to watch, as to listen to; effortless guitar playing, expansive and harmonised vocals inhabiting an otherworldliness of high energy drama and contrasting poignant lyrics.

Often, when you build yourself up to see a band you almost lead yourself to a bit of a downfall for when that moment finally comes around, but I would be as bold to say Ten Fé were the band of the festival!

Despite delivering at least half their record, and it nearly hitting 3am, we were pumped for more; their high energy was palpable. But as we know, The Great Escape only permits a short lived showcase of each artist, providing no room for encores, so until next time, we’ll just be soaking up their LP: ‘Hit The Light’.

Discover our full photo gallery of Ten Fé via our Instagram: @spiral_magazine

In attempt to capture ‘Elodie’, here’s a video for you to enjoy/share, the sound isn’t as sharp because of my camera, but as you can see, these are exceptional live – go check them out this summer!

Ten Fé // Website //  Twitter // Facebook

Words and photography: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

Bear’s Den // Live Review // Hammersmith

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

London folk-pop duo, Bear’s Den, captured my attention earlier this year when they performed at a tiny charity fundraiser in St Stephen’s Church, Shepherd’s Bush, with their friends Mumford and Sons and fellow Communion artists Daughter and Michael Kiwanuka. They left the stage, huddled in the aisle with guitars and performed, to a silenced audience, a beautiful unplugged rendition of their 2014 track ‘Bad Blood’. I stood a few feet away and listened as their lush three-part harmony reverberated; naturally amplified by the old church’s hollow nave. It was the stand-out song of the night. And while I think it might be challenging to replicate that special and intimate moment tonight, given the vast Art Deco auditorium of the Hammersmith Apollo – bursting with 5,000 people – there’s certainly no dampening the atmosphere as they emerge on-stage; it’s vibrant and excitable.

Bear’s Den, made up of Andrew Davie and Kevin Jones emerged to prominence in 2014 with the release of their debut Islands, which established them as interesting and serious contenders in the modern folk revival. Although, their sound has developed remarkably since then – bringing in Americana influences and bigger, more spacious arrangements – they’ve done well to stay true to their roots as they’ve evolved and moved onto that difficult second album. Tonight’s sold-out show is the final UK night on a 19-date tour of the UK and Europe, and Davie and Jones are accompanied by touring member, Christof van der Ven, and a talented trio of multi-instrumentalists who provide an extra level of colour and depth with brass, keys and a solid rhythm section.

They open confidently with ‘Red Earth & Pouring Rain’, the 80’s tinged title track from last year’s aforementioned second LP. New single ‘Greenwood’s Bethlehem’ is delicate although it’s the lovely lift of ‘Isaac’, which provides the first of many sing-along choruses to get stuck into. The poignant and stripped-back ‘Berlin’, a wonderful blend of interweaving guitars and emotive horns, warms our hearts.

They plough through material at quite a pace and it’s not until over half way through the 90-minute set when Davie finally takes a breather and opens up: “tonight far exceeds any ambition we had as a band…we are lost for words”. They weren’t being ambivalent, they were humbled. And that sums up Bear’s Den quite nicely – they are genuine; playing and writing with a level of authenticity that’s proving harder to find these days. Saying that, if anyone can nurture and encourage that in their artists, it’s Communion.

The popular ‘Above the Clouds of Pompeii’ rounds off their set before they re-emerge for a three-track encore, which includes Bad Blood (although just slightly amplified this time) and the crowd pleasing ‘Agape’.

You can see Bear’s Den at Reading and Leeds Festival in August.

Check out their new single ‘Greenwood’s Bethlehem’:

Red Earth & Pouring Rain is out now on Communion.

Bear’s Den: Website // Twitter // Facebook

Writer and Photographer: Will Steadman@steadman_will

Stornoway // Live Review // Oxford // Farewell Tour

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

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Stornoway first captured my attention way back when I started Uni. The student magazine had reviewed their local show around the time of their first album release: ‘Beachcomber’s Windowsill’, which very quickly became the soundtrack to my student life. I’ll always associate my autumnal commute (and relatable situation) to the lyrics of I Saw You Blink: “I missed the train on my way home, because I was still daydreaming”. If the band somehow escaped you, their music is imbued with sensitivity and earthiness, cherished by all it touches. All three albums are threaded thematically by the natural world, of love and folklore.

There’s a very good chance that Stornoway have saved their best until last for us tonight, playing to their hometown’s biggest venue, New Theatre Oxford. With a heavy heart, band and audience give it their all, as though it’s their last night on earth (which it emotionally, feels nothing short of). After opening the night with a foreshadowing track: ‘Coldharbour Road’  Brian asks us to join them in making tonight “a party, not a wake” just when he begins to feel himself “welling up already” everyone abandons their seats for the rest of the night, dancing and singing along.

The setlist touches upon some of the greatest hits from their three albums with a clever play on tonight’s exit, feeling faintly metafictional. Referential ‘Fuel Up’ is tweaked to “and tonight we’re moving onto our new verse” and whilst their set is stretched to the utmost (no doubt surpassing the curfew) none of us can believe that this is it – the end.

Highlights from tonight include ‘I saw You Blink’ and the unforgettable ‘November Song’ which Brian plays alone acoustically in humble dedication to the Steadman Parents: “We never dreamed we’d achieve what we did…thanks for putting up with us over these past 10 years and in giving up your garage!”

The famous Tim Bearder was nearby and given much deserved recognition as were all the local businesses that supported their early development. I’ll never forget reading back in 2010, the anecdote about Bearder’s support. As it happened, the BBC Introducing Oxford Radio presenter locked himself in the studio, dedicating a whole hour to Stornoway, leading to a week’s suspension. What an absolute legend! Tim was dedicated a suffusion of Watching Birds moving through a transition to the (sublime) cover of Simple Minds ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’.

‘Zorbing’ arrived timely as a beautiful encore to the night. As the band took to their microphones the audience stepped in to rob them of their first verse. Moments like these epitomised how far the band had come, and tonight coming full circle, playing to the friends, family and fans that had been beside them from the beginning was a warmth that couldn’t be forged.

‘Zorbing’ personally, is one of the band’s most idiosyncratic of songs that comes to represent a joy that will never be repressed. It’s fitting that the song itself is a metaphor for feeling head over heels in love. Such was the emotion felt amongst us in the room tonight. A love so strong for a band, that will indefinitely go on to soundtrack our lives. An irrepressible love for an irreplaceable band.

Enjoy our playlist of clips taken from the eve of this Farewell Tour:

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

Photos and Videos: Elizabeth Andrade (@LizzyyEA)

Ten Fé // Live Review // Oslo, London

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

Ten Fe (2); Oslo; Will Steadman

Ten Fé are named after the Spanish for ‘have faith’, so it’s no coincidence that as I rock up to a sold-out Oslo in Hackney tonight, I have almost irrefutable confidence that this is going to be an absolutely smashing gig.

Ten Fé are dual-lead singers Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan, and they’ve been hovering on my radar since The Great Escape festival back in May last year. In which time, they have recorded their debut album in Berlin with producer Ewan Pearson (who has worked with the likes of M83, Foals and Depeche Mode) and built a steadily expanding following of fresh-faced, fashionable fans (I would LOVE to fit this description but had to buy new jeans just to be allowed past the doorman).

Recent comparisons by some in the music press to the 1975 are, to be honest, wide of the mark, at best, and mildly insulting, at worst. Yes, they’ve got that atmospheric radio-friendly indie-pop down to a T, but what sets them apart is their approach to songwriting which has distinctly more maturity, authenticity and grace than most from that ilk. And what this translates to is an intelligent combination of pleasing piano hooks, majestic synths, and memorable melodies underpinned by lyrics that hold their own.

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Oslo, at 375 capacity and a new mainstay for bands on the rise, is the perfect venue for the duo, who cut an effortlessly cool stance on stage, and are joined tonight by a bassist, synth player, and a drummer reminiscent both in technique and aesthetics, of a young Mick Fleetwood. They are accomplished and natural live; providing dreamy harmonisations which combine Moorhouse’s rich baritone with Duncan’s floaty falsetto to create a sonic blend smoother than an artisan latte, and guitar riffs which are warmer and crunchier than most breakfast offerings.

Set stand-outs include single ‘Elodie’ and the absolutely sublime ‘Another Way’, and they finish with a shrewd cover of Underworld’s Born Slippy (NUXX) which, as one guy in the queue for the toilets afterwards put it they, “totally owned”.

Ten Fé are on a UK and European tour now, including Cardiff tonight  (11th) and Manchester on 17th. March.

‘Hit the Light’ is out now on Some Kinda Love.

Ten Fé // Website // Facebook // Twitter

Writer and Photographer: Will Steadman: @steadman_will