September 20, 2018
229 The Venue, London
“I couldn’t come up with any happiness on my own so I had to nick it”
Cerian stepped up quietly and eased straight into set highlight Seasons. Her vocal control was striking, fully appreciated by the hushed crowd in a room more often known for a raucous reception. Stuck In Motion was livelier but still built around Cerian’s falsetto.
Following a Lewis Carroll reference in Seasons, she quoted Percy Shelley in Our Love, a gift for the literature fans in the room. Literary influences were certainly evident in her next introduction: “Is anyone excited about the harp? You’re going to need that excitement to see you through this next song, a musing on mortality and the fleeting fragility of life.”
Along with the music, Cerian won the crowd over with her endearing personality, suggesting they stream her music while they sleep to help her out with fractions of pennies. Later, she became her own critic to much laughter: “Does anyone want a harp lesson? No! Just play the fucking song!”
After explaining that she couldn’t see the coloured harp strings well in the low light, she got it so right the third time, accompanied by gentle, hand-played drums.
At least one person in the crowd wasn’t prepared to accept Cerian’s self-deprecation. Daisy Chute, the night’s headliner, was on hand to support her support, first delivering a beer to the stage before setting up Cerian’s merchandise desk!
Cerian ended with a little black humour: “this song is about dementia, yay!” Sadly, it seemed clear that she had personal experience of the power of music to endure when the disease has taken everything else. Hence the simplicity of the title: Let’s Sing.
“I’m going to play some songs for you guys. Obviously. That’s why I’m here!”
The crowd at 229 were very lucky that Megan O’Neill was there when she should really have been tucked up in bed. It turns out that she is a thousand times better at singing when she’s sick than most of us will ever be at anything when we’re on top form. Should have know, really. She’s SUCH a talent.
She followed Let’s Make One Up with the second of her alcohol-themed songs, Bottle. Both were powerful and nuanced.
The next admission was a surprise: “I’ve toured so much this year that I’m slightly bored of my own songs.” She interrupted her own train of thought with a glint in her eye and a cheeky grin: “…but also please buy my album!”
Her Ryan Adams Sweet Carolina cover was flawless, as always.
She was a little disappointed and surprised, though understandably flattered, when the crowd insisted she play more of her own songs rather than another cover. [Exclusive: it would have been Your Song by Rita Ora, though I’m sure she’d smash Elton John’s song of the same name too!]
Since she was sick, O’Neill can be forgiven for missing the obvious, so it was lucky that the crowd had her back when she asked whether she should play an old song or a new song. Both, clearly! They were rewarded with soaring versions of Don’t You and Why I Need You.
Head to pledgemusic.com/projects/megan-oneill to help fund O’Neill’s new album by pledging for some fantastic rewards.
“I tune because I care!”
Talentbanq’s Ray Jones’ enthusiasm for Daisy Chute was evident. Her enjoyment of the headlining event to celebrate her latest single was just as clear. Her smile was infectious.
Chute sheepishly admitted that the first three songs were in the same key, but at least that was a relief for Adam on harmonica. Without Daisy’s glowing introduction, he’d easily have passed as a full-time player (rather than a theatre director), with a special harmonica microphone and everything!
Bob Dylan’s Fare Thee Well was the first cover of the night. It had a full, traditional sound with the sumptuous winning combination of double bass, cello, guitar, keyboard and harmonica.
Troubadour Boy was Chute’s previous single, foregrounding Midori Jaeger’s beautiful cello playing. A bossa nova called I Left My Heart In Rio had to be left a little longer because in her rush to gush about Nathan stepping in at the last minute to play double bass, she forgot to re-introduce Midori along with the rest of the band.
When the song got its moment, it had a folky sound reminiscent of early Emily Barker before the bossa beat kicked in at the chorus.
Throne mentioned Scotland which was enough excuse for a tradition to have sprung up requiring a dram of whisky before every play. The homeland love continued with Robert Burns’ A Fond Kiss set to music, again enlivened with gorgeous cello work.
Pub quiz time – name the song that was recorded by both The Eagles and Dolly Parton. To be fair, there was a clue as the three part harmony that followed kept repeating the title: Seven Bridges Road.
Chute had a treat for fans of her previous group, All Angels. They’re due to play on December 11 at Pizza Express Holborn. However, the night was all about the here and now, specifically Chute’s single, London’s On Fire, due out in a matter of hours. Actually, about that…”we’re due to release tomorrow but we’ll be back with a date when we’ve finished recording!”
By that time, the crowd had been so thoroughly entertained that it barely registered. Anyway, Chute was ready to
bribe reward them with themed gift bags on the way out, containing matches, candles and other fire-themed goodies.
With such an on fire version of London’s On Fire, it seemed nothing could top it.
Yet, somehow, the best was saved ’til last. Chute is in an all-female collective with her bandmates Cerian and Midori. They made an exception – “we’re allowing men for one rendition” – and performed a breathtaking three part version of Tracy Chapman’s Talkin’ ‘Bout A Revolution.
Special mention to Midori who had not expected to be singing that night until a microphone appeared seconds before the song started! A fitting end to a fabulous night.
Find out more at daisychute.com.
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