HYO (Help You Out) is a new London based grass roots promotions company which aims to encourage new and independent artists an opportunity to get the exposure they deserve. Ran solely by Edward Skerry, this is his first event and showcases a wide variety of talent for those with an eclectic taste in music. The lead up to this event has shown Ed’s clear passion for music as he has promoted the event entirely on an effective use of social media and regularly shares new music of which he discovers. Speaking with Ed upon arrival, it is clear to see his hunger to put on events and inspiring that he has managed to pack out the venue without any physical flyering or living in the area of Cambridge.
Up first on the line-up is Folk inspired singer songwriter Melody Causton. It is a captivating opening which has the room enthralled in her gentle performance; you could have heard a pin drop in the room as her angelic vocals had the room listening to her every lyric. Melody plays a short performance which mixes both soft finger picked delicate songs, with more buoyant rhythmic numbers. Despite Melody’s vast talent, she comes across very modest and thankful for the audience’s attention; she certainly has the potential for a bright music career ahead of her.
Next on the line up are King’s Lynn indie rockers The Extons. From the spray-painted logo across their flight cases, to their image; they are a band who have established their identity firmly. When watching the band, it is clear what you are getting into; they are an indie band to the core, they are not hugely original, and nor do they need to be. Their sound is accessible, catchy and suited for mainstream radio and casual rock listeners comparable to the likes of VANT and Catfish and the Bottlemen. This sense of self-awareness has clearly been a result of the bands tight bond as friends and relentless work ethic, gigging as often as possible and becoming a tighter unit as a result. Since I last witnessed the band, they appear more confident on stage, and have dropped many of their songs in replacement of new sturdier additions with superior hooks and passion; new track ‘Gas Gas Gas’ in particular being a standout. Drummer Peter Catlin smashes his kit as if he is playing in a venue the size of the o2 arena, and bassist Ciaran leaps into the crowd with no fear; it is admirable to see such a bold performance despite a mostly stationary crowd.
Recent single ‘I Won’t Leave Lonely’ absolutely soars across the room and Adam Garwood’s lead sections in set closer ‘Balaclava’ has enough rock n’roll grit to shake off any early gig blues and stiffness across the room. If I could give any constructive criticism to the band, it would be to use the backing vocals to add some harmonies to some of the brilliant melodies supplied by front-man Will Barnes. Aside from this, it is excellent to see a local band work so hard on their craft, and this sense of persistence will surely see them achieve great heights.
Up next, alternative indie outfit The Rose Affair arrives to inject some groove and sense of diversity into the room. Whilst the quartet’s two EPs released thus far are a brilliantly melodramatic slice of indie, seeing these tracks performed live translate into a far more energetic connection with the audience. Tracks such as ‘Alba’ from their debut EP result in a room full of dancing almost instantly and ‘Napoli’ captivate the room with a spacious vibe that is both emotive and powerful. Lucas Jones voice throughout this set is both strong and soulful, with a falsetto inspired by Jeff Buckley and a commanding stage presence full of charisma similar to the likes of Matt Healy (The 1975). Guitarist and brother to Lucas, Matthew provides some slick guitar hooks throughout these tracks which are both catchy and performed with precision comparable to the likes of Bloc Party at their very best.
There is a real sense of cohesion and tight musicianship with this band; the drumming is tight and the bass grooves incite a real sense of warmth to the room. Once again confidence is a theme throughout this set as Lucas asks the crowd to move forward as they break into a surprising reggae number. It is recent single ‘Caffiene’ which is the real set standout however; with a lead guitar lick as strong as it’s chorus, this has a pop sensibility that balances emotion and groove. They are a band with a real artistic flair which can be seen throughout their music videos, and performances such as this qualify them as one of Cambridgeshire’s real hopes.
Hailing from North Norfolk, alternative country five-piece Morganway arrive to deliver a set that is both heart-warming and slickly executed. Fresh off the release of yesterday’s ‘Hurricane’ EP, the band are visibly passionate to have released these new songs into the world and performing it to the packed out venue. The band perform a great mix of songs from the ‘No Tomorrows’ EP and newer tracks with a sense of continuity and ease that demonstrates what an accomplished act they have become over their three short years so far. The interplay between the acoustic and electric guitars from the Morgan brothers on new cuts such as ‘My Love Ain’t Gonna Save You’ is dazzlingly catchy, and front-woman Yve Mary B proves once again that she has one of the best voices in the local music scene; whilst she is great on record, her voice is truly outstanding in a live setting.
Opener ‘Devil’s Canyon’ has a tribal stompy feel, laced with tambourines, harmonicas and vocals from all members of the band, which builds to a powerful crescendo. In contrast of pace, ‘London Life’ is the most upbeat piece of music we have received from the band, and it certainly brings up the atmosphere in the crowd, as the audience members dance around each other in true country fashion. Whilst the Fleetwood Mac and Neil Young comparisons are clear inspirations to their sound, other nostalgic greats are evident in their newer compositions also, such as the slow build Pink Floyd immersion of new track ‘Frozen in Our Time’ – it is truly epic. The sense of togetherness of Morganway is as evident here as it ever has been; whilst they have worked in prior performances on solely acoustic performances, Matt Brocklehurst’s keyboard contributions and Simon Tinmouth’s drumming is a brilliant rhythm section that takes the band’s sound to the next level. Add to that perfectly balanced vocal harmonies throughout, and you have a performance that is oozing in dynamics. The band finish the evening with an excellent rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’ and their own strong new single ‘Hurricane’.
All bands these evening have excelled and showcased professionalism, and great variety to the audience. Ed of HYO Promotions must be commended for his efforts here; and doing a stellar job of putting on a show, this is the very definition of how local music should be represented.
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Four new unsigned artists deliver an evening of great music.