Following on from yesterday when we revealed our favourite video of the year, we continue giving you a little Christmas bonus with a little post about the gig that we enjoyed the most in 2014.
Well, while we say gig it’s gigs really. You see, when it came down to it, we just couldn’t separate our two favourite gigs from this year. They both gave us two very different experiences but in their own way, each was the equal of the other and to try and pretend otherwise would have been churlish. Besides, it’s our list and our opinion, we can do what we like right?
= Hip Hatchet – The Bicycle Shop, Norwich, 14/01/2014 & Broods & MØ – Notting Hill Arts Club, 05/03/2014
Hip Hatchet – The Bicycle Shop, Norwich. 14/01/2014
We almost didn’t make it to our first gig of the 2014 simply because we’d not been paying attention to what was going on around in Norwich at the time. With about 48 hours to go, we noticed that Hip Hatchet was in town for a show at the wonderfully intimate Bicycle Shop and, having read We Listen For You eulogising about him time and time again, we thought we’d give it a go. Our reward was an evening with an incredibly talented performer and storyteller that we hope some day to experience again.
From our review…
Playing on a cosy stage, board games piled high and nameless fish exploring their tank behind him, Philippe Bronchtein is spinning yarns from his travels across America and beyond and the audience is hanging on his every word and note. A deep, rumbling voice 30 years older than its owner fills the room and barely a word is uttered as tales of woe, of love, of laughter, heartbreak, redemption, optimism and despair take hold of each and every one of us. For little over an hour we are his, enraptured and captivated as his musical dexterity, remarkable as it is, is surpassed by the kind of lyrical deftness and intelligence that would have many a poet laureate kicking the cat in fits of jealous rage. Not just because of their cleverness and evocative imagery, but because each one is imbued with powerful emotion and meaning. Not a line or word is wasted or superfluous.
With us as his orchestra, Philippe conducts our mood and our emotions, bringing us to joy and despair as he pulls on our heartstrings with these elegant and compelling moments of blues, folk, Americana and incredible storytelling.
Broods & MØ – Notting Hill Arts Club, 05/03/2014
Our next joint gig of the year was a little less surprising to us, and those in attendance with us, as having seen Karen Marie Ørsted perform live before we knew at the least she would rock our world. The debut UK show from New Zealand siblings Broods was less of a sure thing but having played their EP to death in the run-up to the show, we were extremely optimistic. Even then, our expectations were surpassed and the double bill of MØ and Broods makes the £5 cover seem the bargain of the year.
From our review…
The crowd sings and dances along as the duo move through the sounds of their debut EP, throwing in a Sunday morning vibed reimagining of an Empire of the Sun track along the way for good measure.
“Never Gonna Change”, “Pretty Thing” and “Coattails” are expected highlights from an all round fantastic set but the surprises come from how warm, engaging and self-depreciating the pair are. A couple of their countrymen may have expected them to be shit, but everyone in the room knows this is about as far from the case as you can get. The biggest surprise of all comes from Georgia who is revealed to be a stunning and captivating frontwoman in waiting. All eyes are on her (sorry Caleb) as she dances and sings from behind a keyboard, injecting additional passion, energy and (dare we say) sexiness into their more relaxed numbers and a touch of class and reverence when playing solo on the set closing unnamed new song.
If the crowd were excited for Broods, they are bordering on combustible for Karen Marie Ørsted. A ticking timebomb of pop magnificence with the timer permanently set at 0:00, MØ explodes onto the stage and has the audience in the palm of her hand instantly. The low ceilings and tight walls help create a ridiculously frantic atmosphere as she cavorts wildly, flinging her plait viciously, a tasmanian devil of whirling intensity and sass as she pumps the crowd into a frenzy. Everywhere you look, people are dancing, jumping, smiling. At the very front of the crowd to the very back and even behind the sound desk, there is a wave of movement as we are electrified by this incredible young singer.
“XXX 88” threatens to bring the roof down upon us and as we all sing along deliriously to “Waste of Time” and “Pilgrim” there is the undeniable sense that we are witnessing something special. Even the relative calm of her Spice Girls cover (getting its live debut) has people moving and singing along. Time and again in the set she drops into the crowd to dance and sing amongst us, venturing as far as her mic chord will allow as she leads us in a chant along.
She closes her quickfire but incendiary set with latest single “Dance With Nobody”, a beautiful irony as tonight she is dancing with us all. She is also cementing her position as probably the most exciting new artist on the live circuit right now and as she leaves the stage, all smiles and sweat, we stand in a similar state wondering what the hell just hit us but desperate to do it all again.
Broods & MØ Photos: Abi Dainton