St John’s of Hackney Host Little Noise Sessions

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Hackney played host to the wonderful Little Noise Sessions, aimed to raise money and awareness for Mencap. Joe Whiley hosted the events which went on for 6 days last week – her sister was born mentally handicapped so it was a charity close to her heart. The bands weren’t paid and all the ticket and drinks profits went to charity. Nice. Also nice bars courtesy of Milk & Honey, Chapel Down and Giant Robot.

I went along for two of the nights for headliners Richard Hawley and Noah and the Whale. The venue itself was beautiful and the misty atmosphere immediately struck at the senses. Looming in the background was the intimidatingly big organ pipes. The lights were incredible and added to the ambience of the amazing music.

First Aid Kit openend for Hawley – two scandinavian sisters who can bang out a delicious harmony from folk sounds with some serious headbanging attitude. These girls are humble and sweet and punk.

I’ve never managed to see Richard Hawley before, always somehow missing him at festivals, so was super excited as I waited tentatively in my pew, mulled wine in hand. His opener to the set was “I am Richard Hawley, let’s destroy you”. He aurally, he did! Soundscapes reeling around the church with a layered cake of guitar sounds, pedals and beautiful vocals.

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On the Saturday was a triptych of bands I love. Lucy Rose began the night with dreamy-cute-girly vocals fractured with well thought out time changes and loves-lost lyrics. Her band were great, adding some good percussion and backing. This girl is going to go far, her album is lovely. I’m a little bit in love with her. And I now want a fringe.

We moved downstairs for Villagers where the sound was so much clearer (I am told this is best by the sound deck). Pints of the last of the mulled wine in hand, this boy has a touching stripped back voice which is emotionally accessible and heartfelt. I really like them! I liked them more than Noah and the Whale, and this was the general consensus of the evening. I hope they can share in some of the commercial success of the ‘Whale.

Noah and the Whale ended the night. In quite a spectacular way. The duo that runs the show look like brothers. I think they’d be a bit boring without the string quartet. AND they didn’t play ‘In 5 Years Time… which is about the only song I know apart from LIFEGOESON, which the crowd lapped up in a singalong.

Great venue, great music and a proud feeling that Hackney was the choice of venue for this event.

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Villagers on stage at Little Noise Sessions.

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Noah and the Whale in the pink.

It’s All Happening… Bethnal Green Festival

Where: Bethnal Green’s Gallery Cafe
When: Saturday 23rd June.

It’s All Happening… It’s an all day event… It’s at the lovely Gallery cafe on Old Ford Road (which by the way serves up an excellent brownie), AND all profits to charity.

It’s a day of their favourite things (It’s All Happening Music), and these are some of them… Folk music, indie bands, spoken word, poetry, theatre, a craft market, art display and dancing.

Headlining is the Communion signed Alessi’s Ark, along with Soulmates Never Die and Silent Devices, and on the spoken word stage the bill is topped by Ruby Kid. Early Doors Disco, who make their home at the Kings Cross Drink Shop Do will be finishing off the night with their bedtime friendly approach to partying!

Looks like a wonderful line up with an fun day of doing, dancing and having a good time away from the overcrowded Hackney Festival on Saturday taking over Hackney Marshes with soggy pop.

It runs from 1pm to 11pm, and tickets are £8 in advance HERE or £10 on the door.

Join the Facebook event page for more details or do the old fashioned thing and check out their website http://itsallhappeningmusic.blog.com/gigs/, or even follow @iah_music.

Blanche & Shock (& Awe) at Stepney City Farm

Blanch & Shock - Stepney City Farm

Where: Stepney City Farm

When: Friday 22nd June 2012

Those clever chaps at Blanche and Shock are putting their green fingers to good use once more to host an epic epicurean evening at Stepney City Farm this Friday. As well as using ingredients inspired by the setting, a working city farm, they’re actually using the ingredients grown from the farm itself (including ram, but not guinea pig I am told!).

The menu includes some delicious countryside fayre and it looks a little something like:

  • Duck egg yolk with chanterelles, leaves and flowers
  • Various cuts of chicken with rainbow chard and rocket
  • Barbecued ram, potatoes, broad beans, hay and clover
  • Goat’s milk, rhubarb cake, fig leaves and yarrow

I love the idea of using foraged food from the surroundings and also utilising urban farming to feed the city folk some fresh countryside produce, on our own doorstep.

Expect the unexpected with fabulous flavour combinations and classic ingredients infused by extrovert technique and skillful recipe prep. This is guaranteed to be a blinder of a night, not only for the menu and the farm setting, but fellow food fanatics will find solace in foodie chats with fellow diners.

Tickets are priced at £30 each and available via their website.

http://blanchandshock.com/

 

The Apple Cart Festival Flies By

The Apple Cart festival came to Hackney, following on from promoter’s ‘Eat Your Own Ears’ ‘Underage Festival’ and ‘Field Day’ last weekend. And what a mixed up, jumped up, pulled around and start up festival it was!

In Victoria Park’s bosom there nestled tents, bandstands and stages awash with teatowels, haybales and gingham for the one day family fest full of comedy, cabaret and music.

Arriving just as the rain started, luckily, just in time to shelter in the folk tent to watch Peggy Sue. Would have been nice to wash their sultry style of harmonising down with a nice, cool, English cider (being Apple themed n’ all) but the entire place was in drought, deciding to serve only piss weak perry. The girls were lovely though, playing new and old songs with a heap of instrument swapping and some cute smiles picking crooning melodies.

The rain battered the tent, but we braved the outdoors to go and find our bearings in time for the Magic Numbers set on the main Apple Cart stage. With an ever-so-polite audience evenly spaced, it felt friendly and that’s what you want when watching the Magic Numbers! More sing-a-longs than you remembered so looks like it didn’t all go wrong! (sorry!).

On to James Yorkston in the Cabaret tent (an odd choice you might think!?). I was really excited about seeing him play again. He has created many a beautiful album and really should be better known. The tent was rammed, but the ethereal noise was immense so the acoustic four-piece were fighting to be heard over the top of distant base thumps. All acts played short sets of about half an hour slots, tops. Enough time for James to run through a few songs (showing incredible talent at finger picking) and to read aloud some of his book “It’s Incredible to be Here”.  He had said before that the set might be “erm, random” with the new band and it was a bit! Lovely harp, clarinet and violin creating beautiful complimentary, just wish I could have heard them properly!

Patrick Wolf, for me, was the biggest let down I had bigged up, but I have read a lot of positive reviews so maybe I am not the best person to listen to! He was very… red?

Taking some time out to explore the rest of the offerings it was clear that the acts that made it, not the atmosphere. Or art (neon painted milk bottles for a fiver!?). Some Hipster inspired Mac n’ Cheese was quite nice to scoff down. Though not out of a dumpster. The best part of the “extras” was seeing a policeman get repeatedly spanked while carrying on walking. I only got one girls reaction to that though, see orange car below…

Strangest act had to be Chili Gonzales – a piano player that could have been a muppet in a previous life spouting intricate comedy lyrics and furiously hammering on the keys, full of charisma and possibly martinis. One incredible moment was when the sun came out to gospel prayer from the audience… no, really!

Tim Minchin was the absolute STAR of the festival. This was the first time he had played a main stage slot at a festival and, by jingo, it worked! I don’t think I even need to say any more, but it was so much funnier than on the tele. Rocked it rude style. Nobody makes cancer more fun.

You’ve never seen hoola hooping unless you’ve seen Marawa! I think she eventually hoola’d about fourty seven hoops. Stunning! Loved the leopard print too!

And then a quick dash to catch the end of Soul2Soul. Lottsa fun. Lottsa soul and some diiiivaaaas with violins. And that was the end for me! Just time to get fish and chips on the way home from The Fish House. Yummy end to a tasty day.

As London festivals go, this was a really nice one. Exceptionally middle of the road middle classes, but nice. Y’know… nice. Just please remember to have cider next year!?

Gigs: Wave Pictures presented by Duke of Uke

When: Thursday 14th July 2011

Where: Spitlefields Church Crypt

Cost: £8 on the door

If I wasn’t at a previous drunken daytime engagement, I would make every effort to go to this. Wave Pictures combine intimate story telling with simplistic poetical loveliness and catchy riffs sung with proper accents. Like opening a children’s storybook to reveal everything you shouldn’t know under the age of 16.

A brilliant night of music to support everybody’s favourite ukelele based community in an intimate venue.

I might have talked myself into turning up drunk tomorrow. If not, send me a review and I’ll post it on the Bubble.