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Jess Kemp Vondelpark Launch

Jess Kemp - Vondelpark Single Launch Party

Sacred Trinity Church, Salford, UK

10th March 2017
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Jess Kemp 10th March - David GormanI always feels a bit strange watching a gig in a church as these are not places I’ve made a habit of attending, but religion seems to be on the decline and they have to keep the lights on somehow, so the result is there’s a bar and a healthy turn out for the sold out concert to mark the release of Jess Kemp‘s Vondelpark single at this small historical church that lies on the boundary between Salford and Manchester. David Gorman opens proceedings with a delicate acoustic set, his fine picked guitar work is accompanied by a mournful cello, whilst this isn’t the hyperactive start I’m used to at concerts he manages to get some early evening audience participation, and his thought provoking alt folk marks the start to a genre spanning evening.

Jess Kemp 10th March - Sound Of ThievesJess Kemp introduces Sound Of Thieves who are a band that offer a distinct contrast to the opening act. They are a duo that offer a set of bass augmented technology, I’m unsure how these things work but live loops and some fine vocals that are accompanied by a dub heavy bass is something I haven’t encountered before. I have no idea where to start trying to describe this duo, the sound they make is one that’s unique and they are also unique amongst the live acts I’ve encountered. The combination of the technical alchemy, ethereal vocals and dub bass is unlike anything else out there, the best description I can come up with is dub infused gothic electronica.

Jess Kemp 10th March 1The Sacred Trinity Church has drawn a much bigger turn out than I suspect it’s regular Sunday gatherings attract, and the two foot thick stone walls ensure that the venue is approaching boiling point by the time Jess Kemp takes to the stage. Some mellow acoustic strains mark the start of her set, before the lights flare and the launch party for the Vondelpark single kicks off in earnest. Her emotional vocal growl adds a unique element to her material, and it’s just one of the components that makes the impressive, and deeply personal, material stand out in Manchester’s crowded indie scene.

Jess Kemp 10th March 2Throughout her set Jess Kemp blends power pop with other influences that are all delivered with a trademark style, and it’s style that marks Jess Kemp out as one of Manchester’s up and coming singer songwriters, and it’s one that has attracted an enthusiastic and vocal audience for tonight’s sold out show that celebrates the launch of the Vondelpark single. Her music is a soulful mix of rock, power pop and indie with touches of heartland rock, and even hints of country and rock ‘n roll are thrown into the mix, and the whole package is all delivered with her own personal and powerful touch.

Jess Kemp 10th March 3Of course new material is revealed tonight, including the anthemic No Shouting, that for me is the kind of song that Jess Kemp does best, a driving power pop number informed by personal experiences. Finally we get the moment that tonight has building up to as she gives the freshly released Vondelpark single it’s debut live airing. This is another upbeat indie fuelled floor filler, it’s a song that catalogues the bands joyous experiences in the fine city of Amsterdam, a city that has a reputation for making a positive impact on anyone who visits it, and on the basis of the new single it would appear that Jess Kemp is no exception to this tradition.

Jess Kemp 10th March 4The rowdy vocal crowd demand an encore and they are duly rewarded, in some ways the final song from tonight’s show is the antithesis of the previous track, whereas Vondelpark is a celebration of the positive impact of a city, the title track from her debut Camden EP is definitely not a love letter to that renound part of London, and it marks a fine end to what has been a triumphant showcase for Jess Kemp. Tonight has seen an eclectic mix of acts topped by an impressive headline set, on the basis of my experience this evening maybe I should go to church more often, providing its not too early on a Sunday, and there are bands and a bar.

Jess Kemp 10th March Sacred TrinityJess Kemp‘s Facebook page can be found here

The Camden EP and Vondelpark single are available via Spotify and iTunes

The Sound Of Thieves Facebook page is located here

David Gorman‘s Facebook presence can be found here

Photography is by Dean Unsworth, his Instagram account is located here,

You can click on any of Dean’s photos to view a slide show of the images

mohawk radio deaf institute feb 17

Mohawk Radio 'Shoot From The Hip' EP Launch

The Deaf Institute, Manchester, UK

February 10th 2017
By

Rating: 4.5/5

 
 

 

 

Tonight The Deaf Institute is hosting is the launch for Mohawk Radio‘s latest EP, Shoot From The Hip, the band have toured relentlessly and built up an impressive following, this has resulted in tonight’s show being completely sold out, an even more impressive feat when you consider that Mohawk Radio have done everything on their own terms. The crowd for tonight’s sold out show is certainly an eclectic one, boasting an intriguing mix of everything from indie kids to old rockers, this diversity is reflected in the quartet of bands that are on display tonight, a line up that makes tonight as much a showcase for the thriving musical environment in the North West of the UK as it is an event to celebrate the release of Mohawk Radio‘s latest EP.

Mohawk Radio DI Katie MacTonight’s journey to catch Mohawk Radio at the Deaf Institute didn’t start well, gridlock near the venue means that I’m running late, when we finally reach the venue the combination of new Converse and a wet pavement leads to further drama, but ripped jeans are in fashion and a few more scars aren’t going to make much difference at my age. I dust myself down and finally limp into the venue to catch the tail end of the opening set by Katie Mac. From the brief snatch I manage to catch it’s clear she possess a soulful voice, one that is backed up by a quartet that channels the more introspective side of indie. As their final number builds to an impressive crescendo I find myself wishing we’d managed to get here earlier .

Mohawk Radio DI Ideal ForgeryIdeal Forgery are next on the bill, they have an eclectic line up that includes violin and cello alongside the usual suspects of guitar and drums, after a mournful start they kick into some spirited indie rock that embraces the more melodic side of the folk punk scene, along with a hint of emo. For me the violin and cello brought an orchestral dimension to their sound, and it’s this that really separates them from the pack, Ideal Forgery are yet another local discovery that I can’t help but feel will be headed for bigger things, as there is no one else that sounds quite like them. The other factor that struck me about them is that their vocalist, Zak Heaney, peppers the gaps between songs with the word fuck as much as anyone I’ve ever seen. 

Mohawk Radio DI Jess KempJess Kemp is tonight’s final support, she delivers accomplished indie fuelled power pop that is mixed with a dash of rock, as their cover of Fleetwood Mac is testimony to, but don’t let that put you off, she twists the old rock classic to her own purposes to give it a fresh lease of life. There is something about Jess Kemp that for some reason reminds me of the energy of bands such as The Muffs and Against Me!, albeit on one of their quieter days. Maybe this is beacuse Jess Kemp possesses a vocal delivery that contains the kind of emotive melodic growl that few possess and for me her set is further evidence of the North Wests healthy and burgeoning DIY scene.

Mohawk Radio DI 1The Deaf Institute is packed to capacity for tonight’s Mohawk Radio show, this is even more impressive when you consider this is a totally DIY affair, artists with a label backing frequently play this venue to smaller crowds, and its to their credit that they’ve achieved this on their own terms. Three quarters of Mohawk Radio take to the stage and kick things off before vocalist Mia Page joins them onstage and their set starts in earnest. Mohawk Radio deliver the kind of hard edged alt rock that, as good as they are on record, really is at it best when experienced live. Mohawk Radio channel the best of rock, and they are a rock band at their heart, but they channel this with a harder edged sensibility more akin to alt rock and grunge that gives them the kind of cross genre appeal that most bands would kill for.

Mohawk Radio DI 2Mia Page has a striking vocal delivery, when you couple this with a razor sharp band you inevitably have a winning formula. On Your Knees, the lead track from their latest EP, sounds even better live, Mia Page works the stage like she’s playing to an arena crowd, whilst the band provide a rock solid backing. Their set varies between their upbeat heavier numbers and the softer side of their material, whilst the studio versions of these tracks didn’t appeal to me as much, live they are transformed into crowd pleasing foot stompers. The whole set is delivered with a joyful zeal, and there’s something about this band that makes you feel they are destined for bigger venues and crowds.

Mohawk Radio DI 3Mohawk Radio were incredible tonight, the level of showmanship on display is normally reserved for bigger venues and established acts, as a result their impressive set passed by in a blur. I’ll be honest, as much as I liked the Shoot From The Hip EP I wasn’t expecting to enjoy tonight as much as I did, the unrestrained hedonism of their rock influences, combined with their alternative roots, makes for an irresistible combination, and I feel privileged to have caught Mohawk Radio at this sold out intimate show. It’s not often you see a band with this kind of stage presence in a venue of this size, and on the basis of tonight’s show I’d recommend that you to tune into Mohawk Radio as soon as you get the chance.

Mohawk Radio DI 4Katie Mac‘s Facebook page is here

Ideal Forgery‘s Facebook page can be found here and their website is located here 

Jess Kemp‘s Facebook page is located here

The Punk Site review of Mohawk Radio‘s Shoot From The Hip EP is here

Mohawk Radio‘s website, where you can order the Shoot From The Hip EP, is located here

Photography is by Dean Unsworth, his Instagram account is located here,

You can click on any of Dean’s photos to view a slide show of the images