Glowie, Karimthapeasant and Millie Turner, Sebright Arms, March 21st 2019

It’s nearly the weekend. But before I head out of London to catch up on sleep there’s still time to take in one more gig. The Sebright Arms is yet to let me down so I head there for a Thursday night of new music promoted by Abbie McCarthy’s Good Karma Club that, on paper at least, looks like it could be a banger.

There are four acts on but the key breaks in the lock of my AirBNB hampering my ability to see the opener and testing my ‘escape room’ resourcefulness. When I get to the Sebright’s basement, Millie Turner is about to take to the stage. I’d seen her name recently announced as a Barn On The Farm festival act – always a reliable predictor of up and coming pop talent.

Millie doesn’t let us down. She’s got years on her side but has already got quite a handle on her stagecraft. Her name is painted on a sheet backdrop across the stage but that’s the only noticeable nod to any DIY ethic. This is polished and smooth; the theatre is thought through. 

 

Flanked on either side by a keyboard player/guitarist and a drum machinist dressed in identical white T-shirts, Millie adds to the symmetry when she emerges centre-stage in angular red mack. She’s got a voice, a decent pair of lungs for this game. It’s hot up there and she throws the mack to the floor as she launches into a spoken word intro to her tune, The Shadow. You expect a duff moment, filler amongst the glorious pop but it doesn’t come. There’s more poetry and you can’t help but notice that Millie’s literate and well spoken. She suggests to all that she’ll send us an individual drawing if we fill out our address on one of the postcards she brandishes. You’d be a fool not to. They could be worth something in years to come.

Karimthapeasant indulges in a very modern rap that I’m not sure I’ll ever entirely understand. That’s not to say that I don’t thoroughly enjoy his enthusiastic set. He bounds on stage with a look not dissimilar to the lion from The Wizard Of Oz yet with so much uplifting energy it’s contagious. He introduces Will, his backing technician on the MPC before freestyling and doing ‘new shit’. The crowd love KTP; he works them well. When he jumps into the crowd for his finale, a mosh pit gets going that your average rock fan from 2019 might only dream of. Exuberant and a total triumph. 

 

Glowie, the headliner for tonight, arrives from Iceland highly rated. My eyesight isn’t what it once was but I can still tell that her charms are seductive. With T shirt tucked into her jeans that are pulled up to her belly button, she flicks her hair around and tells all that she’s good. On balance, this is probably true though I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve seen her with band. Tonight, with backing tape and the slightest suggestion of miming to her vocal tracks, there’s room to improve. I do feel for her though when men old enough to be her Grandad poke their cameras into her close and personal space to get shots of her writhing dance. It feels just a tad seedy and unsavoury.

 

This London scene shows no sign of letting up. Across genre and across town, they’re are emerging pockets of brilliance. Tonight has again proved that. 

Reina Del Cid – Death Cap

Some pals are organising a trip to Iceland. They want to get away somewhere that’s a bit off the beaten track; somewhere that might not be your typical destination for a holiday. I’d quite like to go but two trips to Scandinavia within the space of a few months (I’m going to Stockholm in May) might be considered excessive. 

Maybe, it was knowing about the plans they’re currently making that led me to pay specific attention when alerted to news that Reina Del Cid’s video for ‘Death Cap’ had been shot in Iceland. I watched. 

Sometimes, you hear a tune and watch a video that simply makes you go wow with wonder. This, for me, was one of those moments. There’s a fragility and sadness here; a contrast between  human and natural beauty. We are but specks amidst stunning scenery. As waves crash and guitars burn, we shudder in the remote warmth that this song and video provides. 

Reina sums it up when she says about the tune:- “‘Death Cap’ is a song about the final days before the end of one’s life, and it gets at that feeling of wanting to stay put, to not leave, while time is quickly running out. For me, Iceland—with all of its strange, detached beauty—is the perfect place for that drama to unfold. What are you clinging to in those last moments of life? The beautiful, strange world that has existed long before you and will continue to exist long after you are gone.”

It’s the final track from Reina’s album, ‘The Cooling’, which came out last summer. I’ve been having a listen to that album this morning having missed its initial release. If you like your Americana with warm wit and quirky charm, then Reina could well rein you into her world. 

 

 

Eurovision – On The Third Day

When I was seventeen, I went on an international youth conference to Israel. I will always remember getting into the strangest of conversations with a small group of Israeli students on that October night. Of the many things we might have discussed in that Jerusalem campsite, we settled on one topic; The Eurovision Song Contest. 

As discussed in earlier blogs, I had a fair grounding in all things Eurovision but my knowledge paled into insignificance compared to these geeks. Bearing in mind that the contest had happened six months earlier, I found it a little unsettling that campfire companions knew the words and the melody to the UK entry that had spectacularly bombed back home. Even more disturbing was the fact that they were able to give me a note perfect rendition of that years entry from Belgium, something that the Belgium entrant on the night had been unable to do. 

I hadn’t stumbled into the Eurovision branch of Israeli Youth either. Such knowledge was widespread and expected amongst your typical teenager. Often on Easter Sundays since (seeing as the main action took place in that neck of the woods), whilst others are munching away at their chocolate eggs, I ponder the much more important questions of the day – do the youth of Israel still hold the Eurovision Song Contest in such high regard or has the subsequent emergence of Dana International dampened their collective enthusiam? 

 

 But I’m waffling again. Today is all about songs 19 to 27 in the 2014 Eurovision rundown. There are some classics here and appropriately we begin with:- 

 

19. Israel – Mei Finegold – Same Heart

Strangely, this does sound very similar to Heart, the 80’s ‘rock’ legends. I think Mei probably needs to book an appointment in with a medical practitioner pronto. Opening with ‘You fill me up with poisoned love’ (not healthy), she then tells us, with an air of disappointment that ‘we don’t beat from the same heart‘ (normal, quite healthy). File under poodle rock.

 

20. Iceland – Pollaponk – No Prejudice

Yes, yes, yes. Cartoon, bubblegum pop punk with a lyric that captures the naive spirit of Eurovision perfectly. Pollaponk instruct us that we should ‘do away with prejudice, cross this problem off our list’. It simply doesn’t matter to Pollaponk if ‘Perhaps you’re thinner, or one who likes your dinner‘. When the funky guitar kicks in after two minutes, I am a convert to their version of equalities. Bonkers and brilliant. Will probably get nil points.

 

21. Italy – Emma – La Mia Citta

We’re back into poodle rock territory. This opens with the guitar riff from Billy Idol’s White Wedding. I bet that Emma is draped over the back of a motorbike adorned in a studded leather jacket in the video to this one. Her long, permed black hair will be blowing in the wind machine. Probably chosen by the Mafia.

 

22. Lithuania – Vilija – Attention

This is a bit dancey, a bit rocky and a bit souly. It’s also a lot shit. Vilija demands for our ‘Attention – a little bit‘. I’m sorry, you are making impossible demands on me there. 

 

23. Latvia – Aarzemnieki – Cake To Bake

The Latvians have given us an earworm. Singalong folk music on an acoustic guitar that builds into a chorus of mates singing about the delights and difficulties of baking a cake. Aarzemnieki (tip – change your name to something simpler like Abba?) tells us that he’s a master of doing difficult things such as finding Atlantis, talking to a unicorn and moonwalking on a Milky Way (don’t try this at home – your chocolate will squash) yet he doesn’t know how to bake a cake. Enter his hippie friends who think it’s a ‘piece of cake‘ to build a cake. And we all got stoned together. Eurovision heaven.

 

24. Moldova – Cristina Scarlat – Wild Soul

Another one to file under poodle rock. I am sure that in real life Cristina is a lovely person but when she sings lines like ‘I have no feelings of mercy‘ and ‘What am I? Am I human‘, I think the wise thing to do is to pass on by in an orderly fashion. Best not to rubberneck as we do. 

 

25. Montenegro – Sergej – Moj Svijet

Bonus points for Sergej for singing in a language that I don’t understand. And not resorting to ‘poodle rock’. This is a classy ballad with some form of pipe-based instrument leading the way. It invokes images of Tolkien and faraway lands. I bet Sergej looks like a hobbit. 

 

26. Macedonia – Tijana – To The Sky

More soft dance rock here. ‘Where do we go now? To the stars?’ queries Tijana. Since you’re asking, I reckon getting the first flight back to Macedonia is a better bet.

 

27. Malta – Firelight – Coming Home

 Already we’re at the end of today’s offering and it’s time to open your Easter bag of Maltesers. I’m not sure what to make of this one. Acoustic guitars, harmonicas and a Europop beat. I think Firelight are trying to inhabit that unhappy space somewhere between Mumford and Sons and Ellie Goulding. It can only possibly end in tears. It does. 

 

Again today, the two videos pick themselves. Let’s all share Pollaponks vision with less enlightened friends whilst joining Aarzemnieki around the Aga in their stable?