On Monday night, a new live music event launched on the top floor of Brewdog (Topdog), which showcased an eclectic mix of genres from unheard of artists. So, I tagged along with a few other Demons to listen to the new, upcoming talent in the music industry.
Photography: ‘(c) Abby Smith’.
The free event, organised by Kelechi Stevenson Ilo, consisted of four musicians/artists from a variety of places, including London and our very own De Montfort University (DMU). The organiser played a few songs, followed by Aaron Dudfield, Bee Bakare, Jacob Braithwaite and Timmas – a band formed by the music society at DMU.
Hosting the event, Ben Howgill introduced Kelechi, who performed the first three songs of the night, one being an original that he had written. I was astounded by how Kelechi became so lost in his music; his silky voice sang the lyrics so smoothly – it gave Rhiann, DemonFM Producer, and I goosebumps! I feel like he set the bar high for the artist that came after him – Aaron Dudfield.
Aaron was accompanied by his friend, Sam, who played guitar as well as Aaron did. As soon as Sam came on, I realised I had encountered a crisis – he was also wearing a chequered shirt! I looked better though…
The duo got off to a rocky start, with Aaron changing his guitar halfway through his set. I think he gave his performance the best, despite blaming its rockiness on the half a pint he consumed beforehand; this I consider a rookie mistake, even if you are nervous. He did a few covers, including “One Dance” by Drake, and performed an original song, which he wrote whilst he was “eating a packet of Doritos in my bedroom at home,” – I think that’s great.
The third act was London-based Bee Bakare, who was one of the few artists that started to interact with the audience as she adjusted her microphone, swearing she “wasn’t a diva, I promise”, which made me laugh. She graced the stage wearing beautiful hoop earrings bigger than my ambitions.
Her set consisted of five original songs, as well as one cover. Her confidence as she played her guitar and sang shined through; I was captivated by her beautiful lyrics, as well as her amazing vocal range. During her second song, “Permission”, she displayed outstanding breath control as she delivered her final notes. Her third song, “Bright Eye” required audience participation, which I thought was a lovely thing to do – most of the audience took part as well, which was nice to see. She finished off her six-piece set with her new single that’s going to be released soon – “Waiting to Happen” as well as chucking out promo wristbands for her new single. Bee was assisted by the host, Ben – the online editor for the Demon, who proceeded to lob multiple wristbands at one table in the middle. Bless him.
Leaving big boots for the next act to fill, Bee exited the stage, for Ben to announce singer/songwriter, Jacob Braithwaite, from Northamptonshire. His set consisted of six songs as well, beginning with “Bird Song”, a song which I’d heard on YouTube – he’d written it for his girlfriend on their anniversary. All throughout his songs, he was lost in his music; I could see his passion and love for his music, which gave life to his lyrics. My favourite song of the night was “Sea of Love”, which Jacob performed. In this song, particularly, his breath control was amazing, and it seemed like the notes were leaping up and down almost, reminding me of the sea; I felt it was very poetic. Finishing off with a cover of “Hallelujah”, I looked around to see that his voice had mesmerised the audience.
Photography: ‘(c) Abby Smith’.
The spell was broken as Timmas got onto the stage with a dramatic, loud change of genre. The singer’s first words were “You alright?” earning quite a few chuckles amongst the audience. Considering this was the band’s debut gig, I think that they were brilliant. Their covers, which included “Ain’t no sunshine”, were given a rocky, heavy edge to them which I loved. Both guys were very passionate, and I was completely blown away with the singer’s guitar playing skills – it was fantastic how he plucked the strings higher up the frets. I do think that both microphones – the one the drummer used – needed to be turned up a tad more, seeing as the instruments were extremely loud. However, it was a great end to the gig, and with a little more practice doing live events, I think they can go far.
There was a great turnout, of over 30 people attending. And, I must say, I rather enjoyed myself and all the talented artists who performed. Keep your eye out for the next Alt. Session!
Below, DMU Arts and Design student Lewis Buttery has provided sketches of some of the artists from the session. You can find out more about him here: lewisbutterytoast.com.
Illustrations: ‘(c) Lewis Buttery. lewisbutterytoast.com’