I’ve been to The Social on Little Portland Street before. I don’t remember this until I turn up at the free show tonight and recall how awkward it can be down in this basement room to see anything on the stage. Back then though it was an industry showcase of fingering folk from the bearded John Smith. We were hanging from the rafters. Tonight, for The Fix’s first promotion of 2019 we’re not.
That’s not to say it’s empty here; it’s more of a pleasant hum as the three up and coming acts do their best to entertain us. Much like last night’s venture (review here), the variety impresses. It’s just a shame that it all wraps up before it’s really had chance to begin.
I don’t catch the very start of Jylda’s set which is a shame because, on balance, she’s probably my favourite of the trio on display tonight. She presses some keys, sets into motion some wonky electronica and then dances quite sexily with flamboyant flailing arms. I can’t take my eyes away from the red, curtain-net veil that’s pinned into her black hair. Jylda tells all that her forthcoming single is called ‘Torrential River’ and then proceeds to perform an industrial dark pop. You wish that she had a full band behind her so that she could simply focus on her movement. “Do you wanna dance?”, she asks and few are able to resist the charms of this performer who has the stagecraft if not the songs quite yet.
VC Pines is confident in his voice (as well he should be). This is soulful, singer-songwriter stuff pared down from the ‘normal’ full-on seven piece band. If you want to see that there’s a Lexington show coming up in April but for now it’s just VC and his bassist, Andrew. In places it goes jazz chord and controlled falsetto. I find myself desperately hoping that they cover Billy Paul’s ‘Me and Mrs Jones’ for that’s their space but instead VC takes on the more challenging task of The Pixies ‘Where Is My Mind?’. It sounds nothing like the original save for the angst. There’s clearly talent here but, for me at least, there now needs to be a hook – perhaps the full band show gives that.
July Jones makes me smile from the beginning to the end of her short set. Taking to the stage as a girl group trio, it soon becomes clear that the one in the middle is July. Full of fake gold chains and choreographed dance moves, the attitude is apparent from the off. “Fuck you up like a porn star“, I think they sing appealingly whilst the boys in caps on keyboards and decks look on from behind. There’s no doubting that there’s something here that could quite feasibly gather momentum, their last song being July’s next single. “Liar, liar, pants on fire”, goes the chorus as it mines itself into your head.
I’m loving these nights in London. Inevitably, personal preference says that some music will appeal more than other. Yet all that I’ve seen over the past two days has brave purpose and talent. I might take a breather tomorrow.