Beth Jeans Houghton @ Upstairs @ The Garage 2nd February 2012

This was the opening night of HMV Next Big Thing and this extraordinary gig saw the likes of Beth Jeans Houghton, Kyla La Grange and Olfar all play fantastic sets. I arrived outside the venue at 5.30pm. It was freezing cold by this time and arriving 90 minutes before doors didn’t help. Most people arrived nearer to 6.30pm. Once the doors opened everyone started to trickle into the upstairs venue. The opening act Olfar were really good and I definitely want to hear more from them in the future. This band were a male female combo and sounded a lot like a newer version of Big Deal. The songs showcased showed a lot of promise of whats to come. Once their short and sweet set was over it was then onto Kyla La Grange.

Kicking off the set was Been Better which was extremely heavy and powerful at the same time. There was a strong Folk vibe throughout this fantastic song. Walk Through Walls B Side Courage followed on. La Grange’s vocals were stunning and very distinctive as well. I really liked Courage its steady pace and the lyrics fitted perfectly with the melody. Actually I was reminded of a EMA song. “I’m Kyla La Grange , My guitar is slightly broken but we’re going to make do with it” La Grange then said before launching into the hypnotic To Be Torn. Kyla’s vocals were extremely powerful and there was a resemblance to Kate Bush (Wuthering Heights). Kyla’s incredible vocal range made this beautiful song sound rather entrancing. It was then onto a brand new song which was smooth, soft and gentle. This being one beautiful ballad and the song being Sympathy. Kyla had picked up her acoustic guitar and again there was a Folk vibe. The harmonising was amazing and nearer the end the song was ever so powerful. “Thankyou so much, I’ve never played here before” La Grange said before plugging away Vampire Smile which is released 12th March. That song was the next to be played on the night. It was delivered at a steady pace and this tune oozed plenty of energy. With the fact it is being released as a single makes it a definite to feature on the debut album. It was then onto Lambs. This was one of the stand out songs that featured during this short set. I actually picked up on an Irish feel and the lyrics were rather luscious and extremely sweet. “You’ve been a really nice audience and I hope you enjoy Beth Jeans Houghton” La Grange said before capping off this fantastic set with Catalyst. This was a quiet ballad which sounded amazing. Catalyst was delivered at a steady pace and was extremely gentle at the same time.

SET LIST

Been Better
Courage
To Be Torn
Sympathy
Vampire Smile
Lambs
Catalyst

This was the 2nd time I had seen Beth Jeans Houghton live. The debut album Your Truly, Cellophane Nose is released on 6th February and this set was basically a preview of tracks from that album. “Good Evening, How’s everybody feeling?” Houghton said to the intimate audience. Atlas opened the night and this was one amazing song. Beth’s vocal range was truly remarkable. “So we all saw a picture the other day that it was like a picture of loads of eels and it said yours always look like you just made a joke and there waiting for a response” Beth Jeans said before launching into a impromptu filler while one of the band members got his guitar from the back. “My mum gave me a hat for Christmas just like a balaclava but with a moustache” Houghton before resuming service with Dodecahedron. This song was both sweet and gentle. Dodecahedron was delivered to perfection and both vocals and harmonising wee top notch. It was then onto Your Holes which Beth dedicated to Your Holes. This song does not feature on the album but appeared as a B side to Lilliput. Your Holes was another wonderful song which had lyrics which were delivered gently. Again it showed off her amazing vocal range plus there was a strong folk vibe. “So this next song is an old one” Houghton said before launching into Night Swimmer. I found this tune to be rather enchanting. It was then onto Lilliput which one of her friends said had no destination resulting in Beth renaming it The Bermuda Triangle. There was a slight frantic pace to this smooth song. I could actually see traces of Kate Bush when Beth sang this song. “This song we haven’t played in about a year” Houghton said before they launch into Humble Digs. Before the song Beth said everyone in the room should take at least one day off of work. Even though it had been a year since this song was last played it was delivered faultlessly. After some tuning it was then into Return which was another song which doesn’t feature on the forthcoming album. “Our record is out 6th February which is very exciting for us” Beth said before launching into the B Side to the current single and this being Telephone. This was one promising song with fantastic vocals and strong drumbeats. “Does anybody know how long we have left” Houghton then said. Someone shouted “Ages” which resulted in Beth saying “There’s always one person that says that and like people disagree”. The song which followed was the infectious I Will Return I Promise. The Folk vibe was ever so strong during this song and it also felt like a hoe down. “This is kind of our last song and it’s like a medley” Beth said before saying that they were playing at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen on 1st March. It was then onto the current single Sweet Tooth Bird. Vocally this song was both smooth, gentle and strong. Plus the trumpet was used during this performance. Ending the night was The night ended with Prick AKA Sean which was a fast paced song. Every ounce of energy was put into it.

SET LIST

Atlas
Dodecahedron
Your Holes
Night Swimmer
Lilliput
Humble Digs
Return
Telephone
I Will Return I Promise
Sweet Tooth Bird
Prick AKA Sean

OVERALL: I admit the main reason why I attended this evening was to see Kyla La Grange. I had previously witnessed Beth Jeans Houghton back in 2010 and 2 years later her fantastic set bowled me over. I for one cannot wait to get hold of a copy of the album. It is nice to see she has something out because most of the songs she sang on the night she has been touring for years.

This was one amazing night and Beth, Kyla and Olfar were simply top notch.

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