Bandwagon noun (pl. bandwagons) 1. A large wagon used to carry a band of musicians in a parade.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Love Supreme Festival: Five Star Menu of Tasty Jazz Treats

Love Supreme Jazz Festival in Glynde
A refreshing blend of fresh-faced graduates, tiddly boppers and old-timers rocked up to the gorgeous countryside setting of Love Supreme Jazz Festival in Sussex last weekend. I joined the merry troopers on a sunny morning stroll past sheep and knee-length grass to Glynde Place from the nearby station. Other festival-goers opted for a novelty £2 tractor ride up to the entrance gates, with proceeds going to a local charity.

A clear highlight of the weekend was neo-soul quartet Hiatus Kaiyote. Fronted by vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and big earring icon Nai Palm, they wowed Sunday’s spectators. I found myself grooving along in awe, jam-jar cocktail in hand, to ‘Nakamarra’ and ‘Molasses’ – the latter from 2015’s must-have album ‘Choose Your Weapon’. It seemed the cloud nine feeling wasn’t just felt by those peering up to the stage - “It was really beautiful to be outside and…have such a strong visual element to react to and respond to”, Nai later told me.
Melbourne's Hiatus Kaiyote
Earlier on at the festival, Young Pilgrims brought their big, brassy sound to The Arena, one of six entertainment areas. The feel-good energy, ramped up by front man Richard Foote jumping around the stage, didn’t disappoint. I later spotted a giant, orange circle floating its way through the crowd – turned out to be a snazzy Young Pilgrims sousaphone, marching around with the band and stimulating passers by.

Rory Graham, aka Rag’n’Bone Man, took to the Main Stage with his gravelly tunes ‘Hell Yeah’ and ‘Disfigured’. His pregnant chum swayed from side-to-side a few yards in front of me…no sign of labour despite the rousing blues, rock and soul... A slowed down cover of Mary Mary’s ‘Shackles’ struck a chord with the audience and he rounded off the set with some heartfelt a capella vocals.
Blue Eyed Hawk in The Arena
Saturday’s line up also saw Blue Eyed Hawk perform ethereal, minimalist sounds from debut album ’Under The Moon’, including a dark and twisted version of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’. Perhaps the group, featuring vocalist Lauren Kinsella, have drawn inspiration from woodland creatures, given the sounds they produce – truly magical.

GoGo Penguin trialled a couple of tracks from their forthcoming album, which follows 2014’s Mercury Prize nominated v2.0, and crowd-pleaser ‘Garden Dog Barbecue’ got heads bopping.

Those lucky enough to bag a seat in the VIP area had an acoustic sneak preview of Rebecca Ferguson’s later Main Stage performance - she sang a warming version of ‘Nothing’s Real But Love’. Her early evening set followed suit with several downbeat Billie Holiday numbers, and she came across as shy-natured in her fluorescent maxi dress.
Rebecca Ferguson's VIP Tent performance
The weather remained pristine for Chaka Kahn’s headline spot before turning stormy in the early hours of Sunday. Thankfully, trickles from the sky cleared up just in time for Hackney Colliery Band, who got feet dancing and arms waving with original piece ‘Bread and Circuses’ and their cover of ‘No Diggity’. They even played a version of Kanye West’s ‘All Of The Lights’, jokingly asking fans not to boo as they did for the controversial Glastonbury headliner.
Hackney Colliery Band kicking off Sunday's Main Stage line-up
Sunday went on to be packed full of music sensations – from Jarrod Lawson’s smooth jazz-soul to Lisa Stansfield’s ‘get up and dance’ numbers and headline act Van Morrison.

Love Supreme Festival 2015 dished out a menu of jazz, soul and blues that could only delight the senses, and my Saturday night pie and mash was pretty good too.  Here’s to hoping next year’s line-up is just as good.


Interviews with Hiatus Kaiyote, Rag'n'Bone Man & Young Pilgrims will be aired on Wandsworth Radio's Jazz Cafe show, which you can tune in to 2-3pm every Sunday, except for the first of the month

Photography by Sophie Ellis @ Love Supreme Jazz Festival 2015

Monday, 11 August 2014

We Were Evergreen: on ads, cities & crazy fans

We Were Evergreen at Wilderness 2014 with LCV Choir

Big bowls of crisps. I mean massive ones. And lots of ‘em. That’s what greets me and the other ‘music in advertising’ post-event showcase goers who’ve just witnessed a heated debate on musicians’ pay... That, and hot Parisian-born thangs We Were Evergeen.

The three laid-back looking youngsters are playing a selection of stripped back versions of their indie-pop-electro tunes from debut album ‘Towards’.

I’m beckoned in by ‘Dormant’, with its hypnotic synth, easy pace and melancholic edge. Front man Michael Liot’s understated yet moreish vocal drops in, making for a nice mix with the more fragile tone of Fabienne Débarre.

Best Thing’ sets a light-hearted ‘Girl From Ipanema’ holiday mood. Its verses carry the song, with their catchy inverted call and response (the vocal’s doubled up on ‘When you walk’, followed by a repetition of lyrics ‘never turn round’).

Listening to ‘False Start’ off the album later, I’m reminded it’s the kind of music that nudges at your body to move…I find myself levering my head back and forth - a bit like a grungey fish out of water – in a good way though… (It is possible. Trust me).

After their showcase, a Victoria Sponge cake (courtesy of Sainsbo’s) appears with some candles. Turns out it’s the lovely front man’s birthday. He puffs the candles out in a couple of attempts, and thanks us strangers for being around to celebrate.

I whisk him outside into the early evening sunshine for a little quizzing sesh, but looking back, I realise I’ve detoured him away from a well-earned birthday drink (sorry Michael!):

Birthday boy Michel Liot

First off, as we’re at an advertising related event, what’s your fave brand and why?
Ooh, tough one, err… I mean, as a musician I’d probably have to say a brand of instrument…it’s a bit boring maybe… But Lanikai, because I play ukelele. But it’s not something you see advertised really.

Most memorable advert?
I don’t think we usually like the music that’s put on the adverts. It’s rare to find one that’s really interesting and original. Like, there’s a type of music that people will go for, that brands will go for, like the happy sort of child-like music for certain types of products and it’s always kind of expected. It’s cool when they go for something more original.

The only one I can think of right now - it’s not the most original - but it’s the one by Dan Croll called ‘Home’, which is a good song and it’s quite honest. The song wasn’t’ written for it I suppose, but the ad reflects the song, which is good ‘cos sometimes it can be the opposite. So it’s good when an ad goes with the lyrics.

What excites you about London?
The music scene feels very vibrant. We come from Paris, so it’s a lot more full-on…it’s quite exciting here as it feels like it’s also evolving. I mean the whole of London always changes from month to month.

How about the flip side - what really grinds you about London?
The obvious things… Money - how much everything costs. And getting around from one place to another.

Who’s your most memorable fan?
Well there was a girl called Katie who used to always come to shows. When we first arrived in London she did T-shirts with our pictures on it. And she ended up finally working for us, assisting our manager, so that was pretty cool.

She’s not crazy but she’s just really obsessive. That’s her character so she’s actually quite fun… She’s got a stalker-ish thing about her but she knows that about her, she won’t mind!

If you had to pick between your voice and the instrument you hold on stage (ukelele), what would you choose and why?
I’m not good at either! I’d probably say the voice – it’s probably more important than the instrument ‘cos the voice has the lyrics that go with it. Whereas the instrument can be replaced.

Got any top tips for Paris jet-setters?
Of anything to do, I really like the canal in the north east area. In the summer time everyone goes and has picnics on the side, the banks are quite large, it’s quite easy to sit and it’s quite warm. It’s great!

And there’s a really nice park called le Parc des Buttes Chaumont which is near there. It’s got a lake and a small cliff…and a weird temple! It looks like an Indian temple. It’s a very strange place but a lot of things happen in the summer there.

There’s a bar inside called the Rosa Bonheur - it’s named after a person. It’s only open in the summer but it’s inside the park so in the Summer time everyone goes there and you have drinks in the park.
We Were Evergreen showcase @ IPA's 44 Club
Photography by Sophie Ellis @ Wilderness 2014 & JWT London
Interview with Michael Liot, 15th July @ JWT