Review: Laid Bare at Brixton East, 3 September 2015

The local acoustic showcase session Laid Bare returned to Brixton East on Thursday evening, with another wonderfully entertaining night of eclectic live music.

Chris Belson
Chris Belson. Photo by Petra Gent

Our host Rami Radi introduced seven local artists in the beautifully atmospheric Brixton East.

Proceedings began with the deep, resonant tones of Chris Belson. His humble manner and relaxed, conversational connection with the crowd belied the surprising beauty of this performer’s song writing. With echoes of Kings of Convenience, Chris appeared to suffuse each track with an element of harmony, despite playing solo.

Rob Bravery
Rob Bravery. Photo by Petra Gent

Another solo performer, the second act of the night, Rob Bravery, brought a change in tone. On keyboards and voice, we were given dark discords and unexpected undulations. The sharp changes in dynamics and pounding lyrical refrains added a hypnotic feel to his sound. Look out for the upcoming appearance of his album Esque.

Next up, the audience were in for a real treat with a visit from the One Man Destruction Show – the solo project from Adam J Harmer of Fat White Family fame. On guitar and drums, Adam seemed to defy all genres, at the same time incorporating accents of punk, rockabilly, blues and a splash of good old rock ‘n’ roll. His beautifully gravelled voice, with occasional soft tones thrown in, complimented the Clash-like guitar style perfectly.

A welcome return to the proceedings, Our Man in the Field, aka Alexander Ellis, delivered his skilfully crafted songs to an attentive audience. This is the fourth time I ‘ve seen ‘Our Man’ perform at these nights and his easy manner and connection with the room becomes more enchanting each time. His songs gave a definite warmth to the room.

In complete contrast, Molly Smitten-Downes then performed with a four-piece band in the downstairs room. With her soaring powerful vocals and sweeping violin accompaniment, a very different energy entered the venue. Having enjoyed the experience of recently representing the UK in the Eurovision, Molly was clearly enjoying the intimacy of sharing her music in this beautiful setting.

One Man Destruction Show aka Adam J Harmer from Fat White Family
One Man Destruction Show aka Adam J Harmer from Fat White Family. Photo by Petra Gent

The evening continued to please with the beautifully dulcet tones of Bernardo. Her deep, throaty voice carrying a wonderfully blues vibe through each of her self-penned songs. She ended her set with a crowd pleasing cover of ‘Stormy Weather”. Very apt!

And just when you thought the evening was winding down, I found myself being completely enraptured by the final contribution. Using echoing synth sounds and whispery vocals, this almost ethereal sound was the perfect choice to close an evening of truly diverse sounds. Wennink also incorporated darker keyboard tones giving a melancholic Radiohead feel.

Another beautifully eclectic mix of performers from Laid Bare. Evenings that are enjoyable not just due to the music, but also the atmosphere and attentiveness in the audience that is instilled through talented live performances – check out the pics below!


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