Review by Linda Harrison
04/12/13 Seabright Arms, London
Last Wednesday I snuck down several backstreet passages in East London in the hope of finding the premier Songeist Showcase hidden underground in the Seabright Arms. After negotiating the overzealous ID-hunting bouncer and heading downstairs, I found myself in a perfect 100 capacity venue with a small bar and nicely lit stage. At the door I met a lovely man from Songeist who explained the digital retailer caters only to unsigned artists and their fans, and they are doing all they can to promote the artists and give them control financially (music to my ears!).
The line-up for the night was eclectic. We started with soulful 19 year old, Brit-school graduate Louis Centioni. He tip-toed onto the stage, held onto the microphone stand and let out a voice that sounded as smooth and rich as melted chocolate. He clung to the microphone for most of the first song, however as one of his first shows with only a minimal backing-track to support him, I could understand his nerves. He then moved to the piano where we saw him relax. Clearly a talented pianist he had arranged a couple of covers for us including Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep‘ and a ‘Winter Wonderland‘ mashup with something from Willy Wonka. I have to admit, these covers weren’t the highlight of his 4 song set. However, the final song ‘Here I Go Again‘ was beautifully crafted and brought us back to Louis’ natural talent. With a little more practice and gig-experience Louis Centioni will go far.
Songeist’s second offering were 4-piece indie-pop (or “Tropical Beach Pop” as they like to call it) band, Dance à la Plage. Within 30 seconds the audience were engaged with smiles across everyone’s faces. The band have only been together for 2 years, but having met at music college it was no surprise that they were all talented musicians and an incredibly tight unit. It’s very rare to see a band where every member shines, but Dance à la Plage are a rare find. Having previously shared the stage with the likes of The 1975 and Little Comets, I think Dance à la Plage have taken the best elements of both bands and combined it with a little something special of their own. If you’re needing a mood lift, go and see these guys at a gig or download their latest EP ‘Flying High‘. However, if you’re looking for a cry you’re best to stick with your The 1975 CD, because these guys don’t do melancholy (not yet at least). Either way, look forward to seeing Dance à la Plage on festival stages and big rooms with high-ceilings soon.
Finally we had headliner the electro ‘Queen of Hearts‘, a female solo-artist from London. With mentions in The Guardian, Pop Justice and Q Magazine plus comparisons to Kylie and Goldfrapp, I was really interested to see how her euphoric pop sound would translate in this intimate setting. After watching a lively 4-piece, it felt strange to see a singular girl with only a DJ (Oliver Vaughn) to support her. However, unlike Louis’ backing-tracks, the Queen had thick tracks layered with backing-vocals galore. Queen of Hearts vocal performance was perfect, and she looked beautiful, but in terms of entertainment I just couldn’t get excited about this. Everything was polished, from the top-knot, to the light show, to the production on the tracks; but the passion wasn’t there, and for me, that’s a must. Having said that, it was a very sultry and sexy performance and if you’re into subtlety this might just be the girl for you!
All in all it was a great night, and a great sign of what’s to come for Songeist. Keep your eyes peeled on their Facebook for news about the next event (expected mid-late January).