This club, for me, is one of the genuine articles. A piece of history. Not the photos that adorn the walls, but the acts I've seen here myself. First was Siouxsie and the Banshees, supported by John Cooper Clarke. Next was Nicola Benedetti. Natalie Clien and an Azerbaijani ensemble led by Sabina Rakcheyeva was the last time I was in the 100 Club.
The evening consisted of 5 acts, (a full list is here) beginning with JC Ryan, fresh from her residency at The Castle in Portobello. Tonight she was sporting a full band line-up and the magnificent Babs on backing vocals. Her self-penned tunes in a similar vein to other female singer-songwriters are given an added attraction, which is her unique, soulful voice. Try to catch her at The Castle if you get a chance.
Video 1 Video 2 (Thanks Elena)
Video 1 Video 2 (Thanks Elena)
The next act that caught my attention was Rhys Williams. Easily the most experienced performer of the evening, a tight, well-rehearsed band, crafted songs and a history that includes playing with Morrissey. Friday the 13th saw the release of his 2nd CD on Vinegar Alley Records, Great Falls, recorded in Virginia and London, and finished at Abbey Road. One to watch out for, make sure you bookmark his website.
Wolfette was certainly full of energy and enthusiasm. I assume she writes her own material, but her voice was overpowered by the rhythm section. A better balance of sound would have improved the clarity of her performance. Similar problems also beset the remaining two bands.
The Empty Headz gave the audience a lively set (one or two fans in the house, I think) giving it their all, though again the bass and drums were overpowering. Probably down to lack of experience and a firm guiding hand in rehearsals. Nothing wrong with the music, just a full-on presentation with amps set to 11. Oh, and they're lovely people.
Top of the bill were The Electric Flowers. The 80's were worshipped with full abandon, even sartorially. I was unsure if they were doing this ironically, but was assured there was no irony intended. This is much the same confusion that surrounded Ladytron when they began their career. Ladytron's way to drive the message home was to record and gig constantly, silencing the critics with their enthusiastic and unashamed keyboard driven tunes. Once again, most of what I heard had the full-on sound of unbalanced drums and bass. I swear my eyeballs were vibrating. Experience will make all the difference, and these guys will have lots of gigs to refine their sound. Hopefully they'll have as much success as Ladytron in the future.
The whole evening was well-balanced between the up-and-comers and the more experienced performers. Folk, electronica, rock and ballads made for an eclectic mix of musical styles. Each of the acts performed well and I expect to hear more from all of them, Rhys Williams and JC Ryan especially, that's just my taste.
Wolfette, Empty Headz and The Electric Flowers only lack experience and possibly a guiding hand in the recording/rehearsal studio. Fingers crossed for all of them.