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Music Makers Festival - Omnibus Theatre, London (5 & 6/8/17)

The Music Makers Festival  was held in the wonderful Omnibus Theatre on the north east side of Clapham Common. It showcased an excellent hand-picked selection of some of the cream of the UK's young independent singer-songwriters and bands. The festival was organised by Albert Man & Manoja Ullman and together with their team created a very special and exciting weekend of live music. It had a very strong community feel and it was great to see the London independent music scene coming together to support this special event. I really hope that this will continue as the festivalt is the perfect showcase for independent artists. Same time next year?


Steve Young: The festival started with a strong opening set from Hertfordshire based Steve Young and his five-piece band of Abbie, Olly, Steve & Pete. Steve's music has been described as “Country music with pop sensibilities” and “Well crafted Pop songs with strong Country overtones”. Steve is a singer-songwriter & globe trotting session guitarist. After years on the road he has finally released his own blend of Acoustic Country-Pop & Blues. I particular liked 'In My Dreams' from Steve's 2016 'Troubadour' album, which had a smooth west coast vibe, the smooth soul of 'Integrity' and the Americana flavoured 'Back To Mine' with it's funky guitar solo. Another highlight was Steve's version of 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' the first song Steve learned to play. It's never easy to cover Pink Floyd, but Steve did a great version of this classic.

Matt Perriment: Matt Perriment is a 24 year old London based singer songwriter with a great vocal. Establishing himself on the South England festival scene, he began writing folk and indie inspired music seven years ago. His debut 3-track EP 'Everlast' was released in March 2017. Matt played an impressive set on sparkling acoustic guitar and keys including 'Kin', 'It's Too Late Tomorrow', Cattle Bay', Beauty & Madness' and 'Distance'. Matt reminded me of vocally of a little of Jamie Lawson and Ross Wilson with a nod to acts like Bears Den, Passenger and Ben Howard. Matt is due to play a headline date at the SJQ in Dalston on the 23rd August and then he will head to the stunning New Zealand on tour.

Adam Masterson: London born Adam is a talented singer-songwriter who now lives in New York. He taught himself guitar and was writing his own songs by the age of 16. He made his start in the music industry in his late teens, playing in several bands on the London circuit. Branching out as a solo artist, Adam's demo recordings for the small Volume Records label came to the attention of the BMG subsidiary 'Gravity'. The revival of interest in singer-songwriters in the new millennium helped his cause, and he toured America as support for the Stereophonics’ Kelly Jones. Adam has hints of Jim Morrison and Ray Davies in his vocals and feel of his music. His exciting set included 'Bad Luck Baby', 'Free Fall', 'Runaway', 'Jasmine', 'Crazy Rain', 'When You Are On Your Own' and 'Farewell Blue Eyes'. Adam is currently recording a new album.

Tony Moore: Tony has a rich history in the music business including time in Iron Maiden and The Cutting Crew and as a hard-working session musician. Other accolades include being a singer-songwriter. manager, producer, promoter and Director of Music, Art and Development for the legendary Bedford in Balham. In the late 90's Tony launched a seminal venue for songwriters in Central London called 'The Kashmir Klub' . His entrepreneurial instinct and passion for music helped him establish a ground breaking club that went on to discover and develop artists like Damien Rice, KT Tunstall, Imogen Heap, The Feeling and many more. It is always a pleasure to meet Tony and see him perform his songs. Sage themes incluiding faith & re-assurance, space transit vans and appreciating the present followed. The set was completed perfectly with the very catchy 'call and response' "Hell Yeah!" Tony is working on a new album and book, so watch out for those on release.

Belle Roscoe: The beating heart of the band are the brother and sister duo Matty & Julia Gurry. Orginally from Melbourne, Australia they moved to London about 15 months ago. With their twin acoustic guitars, percussion and rich sibling harmonies Matty and Julia are making rapid progress on the London independent music scene. Their music is a great fusion of indie folk rock, a Fleetwood Mac vibe and some electronic elements included on their band recordings. Belle Roscoe is normally a 5 to 6 piece band but Matty and Julia performed at the festival in duo format. Their set featured a selection of songs from their highly anticipated upcoming album, as well as tracks from their self titled EP released last year.

Dani Slyvia: Surrey based singer-songwriter Dani, the winner of the 'Best Songwriter' award at the 2016 Unsigned Music Awards certainly didn't disappoint. Her wonderfully smooth, creamy and rich vocals perfectly complement her insightful songwriting, often exploring relationships & some darker and deeper themes. Her performances have been described as raw, emotional and intense. The combination of meaningful, relatable lyrics and a soulful voice created a powerful connection with her audience. Together with her band Alessandro Lombardo and Serge Sainte Rose, they played a wonderful and very impressive live set including song from her recently released 'Monologues'' EP. With the promise of her upcoming debut album 'Tall Tales' due to be released soon, Dani is definitely another 'one to watch'.

Up Down Go Machine: Playing in duo format with acoustic guitar and percussion/drums London based Sam Martin and Stephen Hallwood shared an excellent stripped set complementing their usual 4 piece live band line-up. Their great Celticana music and vocals reminded me of a cross between Blue Rose Code & Hosier. The duo weaved delicate Folk and Americana melodies around their powerful vocals, acoustic guitar and percussion led sound. The band's new single the western themed 'The Gambler' was released on Friday with a new 3-track EP to follow shortly. With support from BBC Introducing they are a band quickly going places.  

PROSE: The Saturday headliners Manchester-based band PROSE finished the first day in style. Their music blends hip-hop with acoustic guitars and beats, interweaving a very insightful look at Manchester life. It reminded me a little Ben Drew's Plan B with some the lyrical cleverness of Enimem. Beats maker/producer Dave Stone and rapper Mike Murray are cousins; Dave Stone and guitarist Lee Royle are friends. They were joined for the evening by Steve Hermitt. After being featured in Amazon’s ‘New and Emerging 2016’ PROSE have continued to show themselves to be an incredibly promising new band. Their first EP gained the support of BBC Introducing Manchester, as well as early radio plays from BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, Phil Taggart and Radio X’s John Kennedy. The band also won the coveted Manchester Evening News fan-voted ‘Best Breakthrough Artist’ for 2016, demonstrating the real burgeoning support from their home city. Their debut album 'Home Of The Brave' was released last July. With sold out shows and collaborations with Big Issue North, PROSE are fast becoming one of the most promising homegrown bands to come out of Manchester in recent history.


Mark Sullivan: Mark Sullivan is an accomplished singer/songwriter from Hitchin, Hertfordshire with a
massive voice and an ear for writing memorable and immediately familiar sounding songs. He is a Master of the loop pedal and expertly executed guitar solo’s. His vocal has a rich, full and slightly gravel tone reminding me of Antonio Lulic. Mark played a selection of great songs including 'Warm Your Bones' the latest single from his recent EP 'Still Good For Nothing'. Interestingly like Steve Young opening on Saturday, Mark included a Pink Floyd cover in his set this time the classic 'Wish You Were Here', again performing it with perfect style and panache.

Tara Lee: Best known for her acting roles on hit TV dramas such as 'The Fall' and 'Raw', Dublin based Tara Lee looks set to make waves in the music industry too. Her often deep and darker angsty themed music draws you in. Her latest single 'Paradise' released in May should see Tara receive more recognition. I especially liked her slower and intense cover of Chris Isaak's 'Wicked Game'.

Brian McGovern: We continued the Dublin based theme with the next singer-songwriter Brian. who joked he is normally introduced as a Ellen Degeneres look-alike. A RTE 'Breakthrough Artist' and enjoying three No.1 songs on the Irish Charts, Brian is an experianced performer and was formerly the front man of The Fallen Drakes. This popular musican has also shared the stage with Bon Jovi and Daniel Bedingfield. I really loved Brian's vocals and songwriting. Wife' the title track of his latest EP is a wonderfully tender and gentle ballad. 'Scars' also from the new EP is a thoughtful and personal exploration about the state of the world and it's future. Brian was joined on his last song by fellow Dublin singer-songwriter Gavin James (another firm favourite here at LCM) for a fantastic version of Bruce Springteen's 'Dancing In The Dark'.

Anna Pancaldi: Another favourite here at LCM, it is always a joy to see Anna play her songs. This solo performance saw the Essex singer-songwriter at her most pure and stripped, playing just with acoustic guitar and keys. The set include songs both old and new and she treated us to one unplugged song and one of my personal favourites the tender and personal 'Brother'. Influenced by the likes of Joni Mitchell, Jeff Buckley and Carol King, Anna's haunting, deep and mature vocals alongside her thought provoking and raw music left the audiences wanting more.

The City & Us: This new 4-piece band from Dublin formed just in March are definitly ones to watch for the future. Their music is unique blend of acoustic tracks with a hint of electro. The set saw a solo performance from Mark Hogan without his band mates this time. Mark played a selection of their latest material including 'Home', 'One More Day' 'Our Last Goodbye' and 'Confused' even including a cover of Cyndi Laupers' 'Time After TIme' for good measure. 

Albert Man: Another very popular choice was Manchester born but London based singer-songwriter Albert who also co-organised the festival. Joining with his four piece band of Pete, Sammy and Sian, he played a selection of songs from his album 'Cheap Suit' and recently released EP 'Nothing of Nothing Much'. If you haven't come across Albert before he writes piano-led, melodic pop songs described by Fresh On The Net as “sweet piano led shenanigans that come over like the lovechild of Billy Joel and Adam Levine”. Albert also released a new live album recorded at the historic St. Pancras Old Church in London, which is well worth checking out. I can highly recommend it, as I was in the audience for the recording.

Tom Speight: One of my favourite sets of the Sunday schedule came from London based singer-songwriter Tom Speight, who was joined on stage by the the wonderful Lydia Clowes and Tom Ashby. Tom has a great pure vocal and this is complemented by Lydia's harmony vocals and electric guitar playing by Tom Ashby. After being forced to take a long hiatus due to Illness, Tom is back better than before, releasing a quartet of EP's in 2016 and late 2017, releasing his latest EP 'My My My' at the end of July.  Tom's music takes the best elements of folk and pop music to create a new and fresh infectious sound. 2017 has also seen Tom signed to Kobalt (recording) and Cooking Vinyl (publishing). Radio 2 playlist support continues and he has reached an amazing 10m streams on Spotify.

Michelle Stodart: The fantastic festival was closed by a super performance from Michelle Stodart and her very talented new band. Double platinum selling Michelle an integral part of 'The Lucky Numbers' has been working on a new solo material. Her set was tender, vulnerable and intimate covering songs from her 2016 solo album 'Pieces', as well as older songs including 'Invatation To The Blues' and 'Take Your Loving Back' from her 2012 album 'Wide-Eye Crossing'. We also were treated to some brand new unreleased songs too, that will hopefully be included on her new album. Michele has learned from the very best over the years and on this performance it absolutely shows. 

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