Reviewed on Friday October 11.
Pitched somewhere in between the screaming hordes of girls and, well, more hordes of screaming girls, I moped disdainfully as Matt Corby crooned out his intricately crafted songs, moments of ruminating pause violated by squeals and one particularly heartbreaking demand of “Just fucking sing, brother!” from a drunken concertgoer who was, unfortunately, twice my size and therefore safe from my wrath.
Bree Tranter is the first victim of the tween army. Having once lent her vocals to indie outfit The Middle East, her solo efforts are received with ambivalence and blank gazes. With lush vocals filling the room and the ambient accompaniment of her band resonating throughout each song, Tranter proves an enchanting performer. Her EP Jaws has the earnest glow of Ellie Goulding with the bite of Florence Welch. Tranter’s vocal technique is eerie at times, but always flawless, and pierces the dreamy pop soundscapes in a way that most pop artists fall far short of, and most audiences would be in awe of.
“We were told it would be warmer,” muses Andrew Davies in a thick cockney accent. The frontman of London-based three-piece Bear’s Den tries to add warmth to the cold audience, leading his outfit into tracks from their new EP, Agape, a collection of didactic folk ditties with lush harmonies that sound like a mix of Passenger and Mumford & Sons. Notably, Bear’s Den member Kevin Jones co-founded the Communion label with Mumford’s Ben Lovett, so we can excuse some of the similarities there. ‘Mother’ is a stand-out track, with the banjo being assaulted and foot-tapping all round.
A light, pure a capella rings through the Hordern, and everyone is momentarily brought to a standstill as three spotlights illuminate the demigod seated at a keyboard in the centre of the stage. Suddenly, primal cries of affection and pleas for marriage echo across the crowd, hundreds of iPhones synonymously thrust into the air. Matt Corby leaves his post and mounts a guitar; ‘Runaway’ and the soul-shedding “She don’t give a shit about me” hook tormenting dry eyes. ‘Resolution’ is unleashed early in the set, closely behind ‘Brother’, Corby’s bandmates manning extra drums to breathe out thunderous soundscapes. But the standout is ‘Trick Of The Light’, the funky blues number that opens with Corby beatboxing (quite impressively) and looping that beneath layers of vocal mastery.
It took an hour to exit the venue because my best friend bears an uncanny resemblance to Corby himself, a fate equal parts hilarious and sad. And also the final nail in the ‘all ages gig’ coffin. Still, you did great, Matt.
By Mina Kitsos