Thursday 21 July 2011

The Good Natured, Josh Osho, Lovelle at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen - 20 July 2011

The Good Natured

There are those who feel that they haven’t had value for money unless a band has played for three hours. Not me. I like a bit of brevity.

I’m in the Hoxton Bar and Kitchen for a Gold Dust night and the emphasis is on sets that are short, sharp and sweet. No-one gets more than half a dozen tracks, if they’re lucky.

That said, it’s a slightly odd bill, with such a disparity between the first three acts and the headliners that there is a complete cultural apartheid. The composition of the crowd changes almost one hundred per cent.

First off this evening we have Lovelle, a highly personable and extremely talented R & B/Soul singer. She says that she’s nervous but it doesn’t show in her performance, which is absolutely note and move perfect, I suspect even down to the ‘ad-libs’. She’s accompanied throughout by a scary Catweazle-looking dude on an acoustic guitar.

Lovelle is very impressive, but in a Brit School world, she faces a lot of competition. In two years time she’ll either be massive or out of the business.

AlunaGeorge are also on a soul kick and remind me of school discos back at the end of the Seventies, when I’d just hate everything and try to sneak ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’ on when the DJ wasn’t looking. When punk broke, the main opposition wasn’t metal or prog, it was The Commodores.

Aluna is long and thin, with a nasal, high pitched and rather whiny voice. George bobs behind a keyboard and ticks things along with a series of glitch-y bleeps and bloops. There are two other guys on stage, but they aren’t considered important enough to be included in the band name.

And then, amidst the dross, a miracle. They announce their next single ‘You Know You Like It’ and it sounds awesome, an absolute monster of a track. Terrific stuff, but sadly unrepresentative.

{DISCLAIMER: When preparing this piece I listened to said track in the cold light of day. It’s nothing special. But last night, in the live setting, it was great}

There’s a lot of buzz about the place for Josh Osho. And you can see why – he’s got all bases covered.

His set ranges from plaintive ballads, to hands-in-the-air party tunes to urban soul. When Josh sings, he reveals a fantastic crooning voice. He’s easy on stage, he’s pleased to see us and is generally as charming as hell. Another potential star in the making.

The tracks ‘Birthday’ and ‘Redemption Days’ are massive crowd pleasers, the latter featuring a Ghostface Killah sample approved by the man himself. Osho’s forthcoming album is 'executively produced' by RZA (whatever that term means in reality), but it shows the level of support and expectation that surrounds this very talented young man.

After Josh Osho, we have the changing of the guard, as the R & B posse leave and the indie kids press down the front. It’s the place to be.

Singer Sarah McIntosh adheres to a simple rule. As long as you start and finish a song actually standing on the stage, you can mess about on the floor of the venue all you like for the rest of the time.

This is The Good Natured’s first gig since McIntosh’s recovery from a broken leg, and she’s keen to make up for lost crowd invasion opportunities. For most of the time she can be tracked around the venue by the huddle of people surrounding her, cameras and phones recording her every move.

The band use the occasion to unveil a new toy. This is billed as a ‘laser harp’ and allows McIntosh to ‘play’ beams of light in the manner of Jean-Michel Jarre. Or at least pretend to, because it doesn’t appear to make any noise. Looks good, though.

The songs sound excellent this evening, which is ostensibly a showcase to launch the band’s new Skeletons ep. I’ve only seen The Good Natured once before and already everything sounds like greatest hits – a good measure of how catchy these grandiose electropop tunes are.

It’s been a really enjoyable evening. In addition to the headliners I’ve seen a couple of excellent performers in a genre that I’m not often exposed to. Well done to all involved.

No comments: