Monday, 10 August 2015

Live in 2015: Joseph & Maia at Demspsey's, Cardiff on Friday 7th August 2015

It was my first time at The Four Bars Music Venue - The City Centre Venue in Cardiff which is situated upstairs in the Dempseys Pub in Cardiff. And hopefully it won't be the last.

Tonight we were in for a treat as four acoustic performances were spread over 3 hours as three Welsh artists supported New Zealand duo Joseph & Maia.

First up was Arwel Lloyd Owen who goes by his stage name Gildas. 

He sings his songs in Welsh. Although I don't speak Welsh I can appreciate a good tune and a decent guitar player.  And Gildas songs including Nos Da & Carreg Cennen come across well this evening.

It's always good to see local talent coming to the fore and singing in Welsh hasn't stopped the Super Furry Animals from becoming popular. His quiet brand of folk sounded very good in this intimate venue.

Gildas was followed by another Welsh Speaking artist, Aled Rheon. The difference with Aled this evening was that he did play several of his songs in English.

He started with September Night.

He was an engaging performer with a nice line in chat and he did his best to get the crowd involved with a couple of singalongs.

Aled said that tonight was his third gig of the day although I didn't detect any tiredness or fatigue in tonight's performance.
Other English performed songs tonight were the lovely Wrap Up Warm and a new song Little Rock.

He has the personality to become a popular performer, especially in his home Country and I would like to see him again perform his own complete set.

Remembering August are comprised of Luke Searle on vocals/Guitar and Jessie Hallet on Vocals/Keyboards. They are also Welsh. They have released two EPs so far and tonight's performance was based around these two EPs.

It was good to see two young Welsh artists come together to make such a pleasing sound. They are very much influenced by the other side of the pond and their sound on the EPs reflects this.

They opened their set with Bones.

Luke and Jessie have developed a lovely chemistry in their short time together and their harmonies tonight were spot on.

As their set went on, you could see them grow in confidence at the reaction of the audience - which was very much a positive one. It's great to see such young performers at the beginning of their careers and it as good to hear that they've signed a management deal with a well respected manager who should guide them though the pitfalls of the music business.

Other songs played this evening included Fires, Disarm and The River.

The quality of the duo's songwriting so far has been very good indeed and with a new EP on the horizon I would expect another good song and hopefully some headlining gigs.

The headliners tonight were the New Zealand duo Joseph & Maia. Made up of vocalist/guitarist Joseph Thompson and Maia Potier, the Antipodeans have come over to the UK to begin a life on the road as touring musicians.

They released their debut EP Roll Up Your Sleeves in 2013 and have since left their record company beacuse - as the duo said - they did not want to become an electronic band. Which does seem a rather odd choice when the duo have more in common with another New Zealand hero Neil Finn than Shapeshifter. I admire their conviction in their pursuit of the music they love rather than be pigeon holed into some corporate idea of success.

Read an interview with the duo here.

Their latest release is an extended seven song EP called Sorrento- and very good it is too. Tonight's performance was based around Sorrento.

Now with a sound very much based in the Americana/Folk/Roots camp - the duo give a passionate performance which highlights the quality songwriting of Sorrento.

They even decide to come into the audience to sing with no microphones - nothing like getting down and dirty with your audience in a campfire-like ambiance.

I really hope that Joseph & Maia continue their journey of discovery and making the music they Want to rather than what others may think they Should. Their natural home seems to be America and perhaps that's where they'll need to go to fulfill their musical destinies. Like artists such as First Aid Kit or their fellow Antipodeans Crowded House before them.

Indeed, Sorrento was recorded in Neil Finn's Roundhead Studios and has the spirit of it's owner in several of the songs chord progressions and harmoies. If your going to be inspired by anyone, then be inspired by the best.

They are keeping physical copies of Sorrento to sell at the gigs as they want to meet the people who buy their records. Good move. They were truly nice people and seemed enthusiastic about their craft - which is half the battle. Try and catch them live - an support them. Artists such as this should be encouraged to follow their dreams.







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