Editors note: This is a guest blog post by Jessie Smith, Event Manager, Musician, Writer.
When I think of live acoustic music events I often think of small dark pubs with old mis-matched furniture, rookie artists who write songs with their hearts on their sleeves and an overly-enthusiastic compere. Well, ReverbLive2014 was none of those things.
Upstairs above the Cornershop pub in Shoreditch is Ziferblat, a “treehouse for adults”. It’s a work space, it could also be a cafe, but they don’t charge for anything except for your time. The tea and coffee is free, the biscuits are free. The books and Wifi are free. A hub of creativity and a desired location for the self-employed freelancer, Ziferblat is decorated artistically with installations and artwork from various artists. It’s got a cosy feel – I feel like I’ve stepped into someone’s living room. Undoubtably, the furniture is mis-matched but it’s all very comfortable, there wasn’t a collapsed sofa in sight!
Tonight Ziferblat had on display mince pies and an assortment of sandwiches. On offer to drink was non-alcoholic fruit punch (which tasted very similar to mulled wine) and fizzy drinks. All this for a ticket price of £8 was quite reasonable!
Reverb is the name of the podcast produced by Richard Lalchan and Iko Akoh. This event, Reverb, was an evening of live music and interviews with the artists, which was recorded for the next episode of the podcast. The format worked well; Richard and Iko took turns to introduce themselves and the artists. I felt the interviews in between provided the audience with a little more perspective about performing as a solo artist and song-writing. The interviews were kept brief which I thought was a wise idea as it was the music the audience mostly wanted to listen to.
Richard and Iko make a great pair on stage. Neither are afraid to speak to a crowd and they both do so with ease. Richard, with his straight forward, and pleasant nature, occasionally interjects quirky puns, followed by laid back laughter. Iko has such a warm nature, he’s smiling constantly. His passion for music is prominent and he emanates positivity to the audience.
The first artist, Hanna Willow, a solo act who accompanied herself on the guitar, played several mellow but thought-provoking songs. Her style was very purposeful and but relaxed. A great soulful voice that suited the style of her songs brilliantly.
NADINE brought along three musicians, a bass player, back-up vocalist and a cellist. NADINE herself played keyboard while singing, which is no easy feat even for the most practiced of pianists. Her music spoke to me the most. Her set was a balanced mixture of upbeat and chilled out. Her supporting musicians really relaxed into the music and made the arrangement come alive. NADINE’s voice is a beautiful soprano but her range is quite extensive.
Last was My Northern Sky, another soloist who played a mixture of both guitar and keyboard. I really liked this guy’s journey through song-writing to movie music. His set was varied, his songs were dynamic and at times also quite haunting. All three artists were clearly quite carefully chosen by Richard and Iko, the genre was similar so their sets complimented each other.
All in all it was an enjoyable evening. The way it was structured was well thought out, I heard just enough of each of each artist to want to hear more of them. The only downsides was the lack of a larger audience and the music from the pub downstairs which you could clearly hear in between each set. In the last five minutes it sounded as if they had switched the bass amp on, as suddenly the music got even louder, right when Iko was conducting an interview with My Northern Sky. It was a bit distracting and I felt sorry for the artists who had to put up with it.
Reverb was produced by Creatives Hub, which Richard is also the co-founder of. The mission of Creatives Hub is to help as many creatives as possible to get rid of the shackles of procrastination, break out of fear, grow in confidence and get stuff done.
Check out the photos from our Facebook gallery below and listen to the podcast.