23-03-12: Marley's Promotions presents: Happy Birthday Phil Letley

Poco Loco, Chatham.

So with no real sense of urgency, Marley's Promotions took over Poco Loco for another night of acoustic loving.
With a quick line-up change on the night, just 'cause, Charlotte Rose Ellis was the first to take to the stage, and a [criminal]ly beautiful voice she has. Managed by Aftershock Promotions, and hailed as a "shining ray of talent" at the tender age of fifteen, she has such a pretty voice, which blends well with the piano she plays that I can only assume is a feature of all of her performances. With relatable lyrics and an emotional connection, partiularly within the likes of "Broken Love Song", and clear influences of Taylor Swift and Paramore, her songs speak out with their own promise of a bright future. Charlotte Rose Ellis ended her set on a cover of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" - and while I am a fan of the band and the grunge scene myself, I feel this song is far too over-played. It has lost all sense of being. Naturally I was dubious of her rendition and of course there were aspects that both worked and didn't work for me; in no disrespect to Miss Ellis herself as her performance was flawless.. but imagine somebody covering a song by one of your favourite bands. Doubts are always going to come into play.

Next up were half of Note to Self, making the transition into an acoustic act. After seeing them a few weeks back with an acoustic set that saw their drummer break the kick drum I was interested to see how their songs and general vibe would flow into something softer. But rest assured it did. They are still in the early stages of engaging with the crowd but they are new to the scene and what better way to develop than to keep landing slots at all the local hot-spots?
Vocalist Jayne Snow has a voice that sings like there is no tomorrow, and sits well with the lead guitars from Conor Barnard. With a mixture or covers and originals that range from Pop Punk to Metal, influences from the likes of Paramore (again), Wheatus and Blink 182 AND the fact they are female-fronted. What's not to like about that?
Throughout their set they played a cover of Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" and Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" - and without hesitation the latter worked far better for me. I am also being genuine when I say that I got goosebumps when the line "I hope you fall, so you know what it's like to lose it all" was sung, and most definitely throughout the final song, "Armour", with my favourite line being "don't let your guard down cause I will be your armour".

Next up was a first for Marley's Promotions, Phoebe Peek - a young solo artist who has been performing since the age of thirteen. During her set, she played two covers. The opening track being "We Found Love" by Rihanna, shortly followed by "A Team" by Ed Sheeran. It was clear to the ear that both covers worked perfectly for her voice and style. With other influences from the likes of Regina Spektor, Bon Iver, Mumford & Sons and Newton Faulkner, Phoebe Peek eventually came into her own, after what seemed to me to be a nervous start; Her voice is soft, pleasing to listen to, welcoming.  Though there was a slight tuning issue, the crowd were just as welcoming so this mishap was worked around as everybody in Poco Loco appeared to enjoy the performance.
And from songs such as "Meet Me", there are still lines that resonate with me now.. "hold me, don't ever let go of me" and something that perhaps I should adopt as a motto to my life, "believing in a little something".

Georgie Gillis - it's just her and her guitar.
She's half English, and half American, which is where she explained her "funny accent" came from. Having now settled with her Orpington based band, Forge North, Georgie Gillis has a selection of songs that appear to be predominantly focused on age and growing. A sense of giving the old you some advice. She has a quirky nature with an audience singing more or less word for word to every song. She claims there is a sense of abstraction to her song-writing and while this is evident, there is also a sense of clarity.
With lines such as "KNOCK KNOCK on reality's door, I wanna know if I've been here before. KNOCK KNOCK on reality's door, yes I've been here before" and "Monkey see and monkey do" .. the reflection upon growing up, "pushy parents" and a general sense of nostalgia is relatable.. and I feel where a lot of the interest in her is derived from.

Phil Letley was the headlining act of the night to celebrate his own birthday; He had a fun and uplifting vibe and described by Marley's Promotions as "shining with optimism and hope in the face of the heartbreak in his songs". His style and way of singing is reminscent of The Kooks, it's interesting to say the least. Tracks such as "Heartbeat" and "Doon't Wanna Think of You" showcase his song-writing abilities and is hailed as one to watch.
He graced Poco Loco with a lot of movement and crowd interaction; and the song "Pirate Ships" was relevant if you were standing next to a loved one, which was a reminder that mine was not with me. But "I cannot describe this feeling that I've got inside" - his style is not one in which I am usually drawn to but it was a lovely song nonetheless because it had meaning. It had a life of it's own.
If there is one thing that Mr. Letley can teach is that sh*t happens, so f*ck it.

09-03-12: Switchback Music Events presents

The Beacon Court Tavern, Gillingham.

Are you listening? Are you listeniiiiiiiiiiing?

Oh, good – I have your attention. Now, it’s time to pay attention to some local talent hailing from the Medway towns, and a top London band.
Having only been around since August 2011, The Hamelins were the first to take centre stage at The Beacon Court Tavern on Friday night and needless to say I am slowly warming to them. After seeing them a few weeks ago at The Command House I was unsure, but I am putting this down to the sound quality as – despite minor technical difficulties – their latest performance was brilliant.
They have a high energy, with vocalist and guitarist, Timothy Wilcox, being the direct driving force of the band, and a vintage sound with additional and complimenting vocals from Ione Bruce, if indeed at times they are a little too quiet. Nonetheless, with a solid set-list of original tracks, they are young, fun and a refreshing band with a musical ability that is landing them gig after gig.

Next up were a hot new band on the Medway scene, known as 5 Weeks In. With influences drawn from the likes of 30 Seconds to Mars, Foo Fighters, and Paramore, 5 Weeks In have a great energy matched by their presence and alluring sound – particularly the vocals! Oh, that voice.
So moving on, I’ve heard that Russian Roulette is not the same without a gun. Atleast that is what Lady Gaga preaches, and as of late so do 5 Weeks In.
Their cover of “Poker Face” strangely worked in favour of their sound, vibe and presence. I don’t know why but for me it just worked. Then an angry song followed, though I would say more passionate than angry per se. I am disappointed with myself that I didn’t catch the title as it was one of my favourites, and one the crowd seemed to receive well as there was an exceptional turnout.
With a range of influences, and drum fills at all the right moments, 5 Weeks In put on an exciting performance that exceeded my expectations after seeing them at the Command House a couple of weeks prior to this event.

Pedalo Fred. They cut to the chase, and give it to you straight up. Apparently.
According to a non-zany, un-extravagant introductory bio, they are a rock band who still think it’s okay to hang back and not worry about keeping up with the times.
Pedalo Fred are sure of themselves and have what seems to be an ever-growing, loyal fan-base. They have a catchy sensibility and an essence of familiarity looms; but in no way that is tiresome or boring.
In all honesty, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, having never heard them before; but they offered something fresh and raw, which makes you feel like you’re riding a rainbow on a glistening jewel encrusted surfboard... Oh hang, no that is just you guys! Though they sure know how to hold a crowd.

Bleech were the headlining act of the night, and a fine treat for Kent it was.
Having recently landed back in the UK after playing in New York, they have played on the NME tour, and headlined at The Koko in Camden for NME, they have also supported the likes of Wolfmother (in Germany), The Kooks, The Charlatans and Pete Doherty.
First impressions? Androgynous, effortlessly cool, edgy.
The three piece are tight to say the least, and female led, with a post-grunge meets American rock feel. It was difficult to ignore the intensely beautiful, almost Courtney Love-esque vocals that oozed from beneath all the hair. Team this with a bare-foot bassist who you can’t take your eyes off of and immaculately timed drum-beats, and you have the makings to the soundtrack of a typical teen’s life.
The exuberance of a force to be reckoned with is delivered, and what a noise they make.