Live Review: Jacaranda Records Ltd Label Showcase – London

Jacaranda Records Label Showcase

Phase One, 14 October 2018

There is something stirring in Seel Street, Liverpool right now over at Jacaranda Records Phase One. As well as putting on being a bar, a record shop and a venue for high quality gigs, there is also Jacaranda Records Ltd which is now based there putting out tracks and supporting some of our favourite acts.

Recently they held their inaugural label showcase which was topped by The Post Romantics who were celebrating the birthday of singer Connor Cockbain, and The Bohos. Both of these bands have been on the radar for quite some time, so it was our job to focus on the other four acts playing, none of whom have ever appeared on the pages of Popped Music before. Yes, I did check before I typed that, and after I typed it too just to be sure.

First up on the night was Niki Kand. Considering that Niki and Alex, her guitarist, had only been working together for a month their 15/20 minute set was remarkably well put together and managed to show off the cool and smooth sounds of Niki’s voice. I also enjoyed, in a curious way, seeing how comfortably they handled the mic breaking during the set. It could have easily knocked them off their stride – especially considering how far into the track they reached before the news came to them that the vocals were not coming out to the audience.

Now I never thought that I would have the call to describe an artist as seeming like the house band of a indie-jazz themed beach side bar, but that is the only way the music of Eli Smart could characterised. It’s not really surprising when the artist in question is a Hawaiian native who has somehow floated on the wings of fate to end up in Liverpool. I think it is fair to say I despise jazz, and the mid-set guitar versus bass jamming interlude was not to my taste, but there was more than enough in the sun blessed tunes to make up for that.

Eli Smart

I had heard whispers and rumours in the preceding days of the talent of Gazelle and her jazz singer voice, and I was on the cusp of going Michael Douglas in Falling Down at the thought of more of it. Thank the maker that I did not let my musical prejudices get the better of me.

Gazelle is more of a soft soul singer than any other four letter word. Smooth and sultry, her set took me straight back to the nineties. As well as being dressed in the style of the twenty year old school kids of Clueless (a beret is always a winner), I felt like I was listening to a one woman version of Eternal. The whispers were definitely right about her talent, and thankfully she did not need to show how good a singer she is by showing off the size of her vocal range. Instead we in the audience were rewarded with music worth moving to.

Nocturnal Coast

The Bohos’ set was a bit of a letdown to me in all honesty and I was looking forward to it greatly. It seemed to me that the lead singer, who has one hell of a voice, was trying to push on a bit too much and ended up overdoing it, but he was still tremendously entertaining as a frontman. But I would always want someone to try too hard rather than be aloof and not bothered. Plus I have seen The Bohos enough times to know that this was a one-off rather than their standard position. At this point, halfway through their set, I realised that the gig was running around an hour late, so I had to say my goodbyes and go home to a Lemsip and a couple of extra blankets.

The Bohos

Connor, I hope you had a good birthday and enjoyed the cake! And to Jacaranda Records Ltd, here’s to the future! It’s going to be fun.

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