The Luminaires EP Launch

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Luminaires Badge The HarriotsThe Harriots start the evening off. I didn’t know these guys were playing for the launch – I first heard them and fell in love with their sound at a Solid Air last year. They kick off with a slightly staider performance of I Can’t Stand The Silence compared with how I remember; it’s good to hear them in a venue like Champions with a decent PA and decent stage. The only thing missing is the mosh crowd. They have some really catchy bass hooks, and drums that push the tracks on, as they warm up to the set, the venue and the crowd, and start winning the latter over. They save their best two for last, Mothers Son and Liability, which both go down really well – the only thing missing is a call from Joe (lead) before Liability for the crowd to edge forward a bit – I normally hang out in the middle of the floor, and I’m well in front of all other kibitzers.

Hannah Williams & the Tastemakers Hannah Williams And The Tastemakers immediately make an impression. Striding onto stage and inviting the crowd forward then, after being announced, kicking off into a word riff seemingly inspired by James Brown. Hannah does a great job in that vogue calling out the breaks and shots. The music is furious funk, sax led with keys bass and guitar underpinning Hannah’s vocals, drums tricking out over all. These guys have brought a crowd with them, who are eventually, irresistibly drawn towards the stage. As the set moves on, we move more towards the smooth end of the scale, note and beat perfect, with loads of appropriate movement from the band as we go through.

The LuminairesAfter that great soul set the headline enter the stage. The Luminaires storm the venue;  the crowd are theirs – they’ve brought many who have been hiding round the corner during the support acts – they have energy and vigour. Aaron parades around the stage, engaging audience and band alike. They open with Untouchable which is driving and strident, yet finished gently with Joel (lead guitar) almost making it sound like the start of another song. When a lead falls out during the intro of second song Trigger, Steve & Simon carry on with the opening hook while said lead is sorted out – very slick, and far better than stopping in a mess then having to restart.

Another example of their advance planning – during the set lead singer Aaron chooses a guitar, only to have a string break on him as soon as he checks the tuning. No fuss or bother, just switch in a spare acoustic they’ve brought with them and the show goes on. Again they’re not fazed by a PA lead failing, just switch mics and move on. I really don’t know what it is about EP or album launches, I’ve seen many and it always seems that something goes awry during the performance.

Joel deserves special mention – he’s using what seems like a third of the stage, wandering around as is Aaron both into the crowd and around the stage, making the effort to make this look good. The only detraction to this is it makes The Luminaires look like a 4 piece with Aaron leading, and Joel on his own.  It’s hard to get a photo of all five of them together, even trying creative angles.

Aaron & Dave LuminairesAt the end we have a chink in the planning armour – they haven’t any more songs for an encore, they cover this up via an acoustic track from Aaron, with just Dave accompanying on drums. Good, just a bit of an anticlimax compared with what’s gone before.

It’s at this point that I’d throw in a little review of the EP, prior to arranging for a review to be included in Listed magazine.  However there has been production issues with it, and the mixing is slightly out for some of the tracks – so much so that Aaron has asked me to hold fire on an EP review here.

Solid Air Monday 1 November

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Walked in to hear the last of Jazz Morley‘s set. Jazz has a wonderful voice which almost doesn’t need a PA system, the clarity of her vocals mean the lyrics can be enjoyed, coupled with keyboard chord harmonies.  Shame I  missed the first of the set.

Jazz was followed by Del Malone, doing a solo acoustic guitar set.  Del was formerly the front man of Parker, two of which are also with Streebeck. Del alluded to this in one of his songs, co-written with Kevin, Streebeck’s front man.  Del was able to showcase an impressive vocal range, while the guitar work wasn’t as tricksy impressive as some, it was a good foundation for his strongly sung lyrics.

Last band on the bill were The Harriots, in from London after the Oxjam fundraiser at The Portman, and following on from a recording session in Penn Hill.  These chaps impressed, not just becuase they had brought a small following with them. In particular the second song of the set, which name I didn’t catch, woke the whole place up – shame more people weren’t there, their stuff is very jumpy and insists to be danced to. 

One other thing – they seemed to be having the worst gig ever. The lead guitar broke a string in the first song, and fortunately they had brought a backup guitar  – which then broke a string in the second song.  To cap it all the rhythm guitarist also broke a string, causing some swapping around for one of the songs where it seemed that particular string was needed.

According to their videographer the instruments had been fine all weekend, what with the Oxjam gig and a long recording session, so could have just been the atmospherics of leaving them out in the cold then bringing them into the warm venue.

Overall, the unusual style of having the bass and ryhthm guitars mirroring each other worked really well for me, and while the front man might not be the most energetic for the style of music played, they just got on with the stuff and showed they could play, while overcoming obstacles.  Impressive stuff.

First act up (before I arrived) was Mr Nodge (website not known), apparently went down really well, and I heard he seemed to have enough material to have carried on all night if there hadn’t been another 3 acts following him. According to Solid Air‘s Conrad, he brought a sizeable crowd with him for his debut gig. One to look out for in the future.