Live Review: Communion New Faces Tour – Liverpool

Communion New Faces Tour

communion new faces 3Arts Club, Liverpool 20th April 2015

Words: Gary Lambert

Monday 20 April saw the latest instalment of the bi-annual Communion New Faces tour reach Liverpool. Arts Club’s Loft was the venue for the event which sees a rotating running order through the tour. All of the artists performing have very strong, up-and-coming reputations but the styles were vastly different to each other.

First up was the dark, brooding sounds of Freddie Dickson. The eponymous star was supported ably on keyboards and guitar, but this was a thinner line up than usually perform together as the drummer and bassist were unable to make it on the tour. This made for a more “depressing” (Freddie’s words not mine) set than you would normally receive when watching this act. What Freddie thought as depressing, I viewed as theatrical in style and sound. I was excitedly writing in my notes “Phantom of the Indie Disco”. Double underlined as I was pleased with that witticism. As a sucker for bands selling their own records at gigs, I was excited to be able to get a copy of his new song, Speculate, for the princely sum of joining the mailing list.

Next up was the star performance of the night, Charlotte OC. Whilst most performers take their time getting used to spotlights and the audience starring at them, Charlotte OC looked like she was born on stage and has used the years since to get even more comfortable on it. Every word that came out was filled with emotion and show from the opening track which was a gorgeous piece of mid-paced electronica. The was variety in her set though ranging from minimalism to folk which gave her the opportunity to show off her soulful vocal and her ability to reach higher and longer notes. I hasten to add though that this was not a showcase of warbling but more like a gospel singer comfortably taking centre stage. As I walked down the stairs to get some much needed fresh air and reset myself after the shock, I overheard one of the venue staff say “I feel sorry for any latecomers, they’re going to be sorry they missed that”.

Before regrets could set in, any latecomers first had the smooth, poppy sounds of Tenterhook to entertain them. It is difficult for a singer-songwriter with an acoustic guitar and ear for a poppy tune to stand out, but this affable young man did with a beautiful folky falsetto which created a feel of romance and relaxation. From my favourite reviewing spot of in the back corner in the darkness, I could see a number of couples slowly edge towards each other as the soundwaves of sweetness soothed the working day out of them more and more. This was not his first visit to the Loft, but he was happier this time that he had more than the sound guy and a stranger watching.

The final act of the night was Frances, a female singer-songwriter who cut a lonely figure sat on her own on stage on a stool at her keyboard. This was just a snapshot though as the performance smacked of confidence in both her voice and her music. It would be very easy, given the style in which she performs, for Frances to go down the quirky route and search for YouTube hits by firing out smart and poppy rhythms. Instead powerful, piano ballads were the order of the day as she drew everybody close to her with a series of beautiful tunes which were respectfully listened to in silence from the audience – many of whom would have known her due to her history of studying in Liverpool. She performed well under pressure and was a worthy headliner.

Listen to Coming Up For Air by Frances here:

Watch the video for What I Like by Tenterhook here:

Watch the video for Hangover by Charlotte OC here:

Watch the video for Speculate by Freddie Dickson here:

 

 

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