Kyla La Grange @ Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar 22nd May 2012

Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar was the setting for Kyla La Grange’s show down by the coast. This Brighton based venue was originally called Jam and it was one I had never attended before. I arrived around 5pm and just had a walk up and down the sea front as the weather was so hot. Come 6pm I went inside the venue and waited in the bar area until doors opened at 8pm. I had a little chat with Kyla which was nice. Once the time came I then went down the stairs and entered the small venue. I actually would liken this to The Haunt. Still the first artist on the night was Eduard Prosek who had a band backing him. The set performed was a slice of folk rock and it was actually rather intriguing. It was the person next on the bill whom blew me away.

Abi Wade is someone I have just discovered. Wade is a musical collaboration between limbs, strings and vocal chords. She already released her debut EP And Blood And Air on Love Thy Neighbour last November. Abi is someone extremely talented and I would place her music in the folk genre. This is what I love about gigs in different parts of the UK, you normally get support acts who are well known in that area. Well Abi Wade didn’t disappoint me. The set was short but sweet and consisted of 8 wonderful songs. Three of those taken from the EP which she was selling that evening. “My name’s Abi Wade, I hope you enjoy” Wade said introducing herself to the small audience. What opened this set was Heavy Heart and this song sounded incredible. The vocals were powerful yet this song was rather gentle. “This song’s about a world inside a fish bowl. One of those little globes that you shake at Christmas time” Abi then said before playing Stability. Again like the opener this song completely captivated me. The was a thumping drum beat aided by some really impressive cello skills when using a drum stick meant for a gong. Nothing faulted the beautiful vocal performance. After plenty of applause it was then into the steady paced Roulette. Wade hit the high notes at ease and the vocals were perfect. It was then onto yet another brand new song and this being War Song or Cherade (this number has 2 different names). Lyrically the verses were slightly upbeat and you can also picture it in your head. I really hope this song appears on a future release. Faker was one amazing song. It basically showed how incredible she actually is. Abi was playing multiple instruments at the same time. When playing the cello Wade got into a routine which was rather pacey. If that was me I couldn’t even concentrate with focusing on 2 things at the same time. Anyhow Faker had fantastic lyrics which were delivered to perfection plus it was over in a flash. “Can I have loads of reverb on this one please” Abi then said to the sound man at the back. The vocals were echoey and it sounded amazing. Hope sounded a little bit haunting. “Very classy a pint of wine. I didn’t fill it to the top” Wade said to the audience before taking a sip of drink. What followed was yet another new song. This at the moment is Untitled but it may be called Bastard Of All Trade. This steady paced number sounded slightly eerie and the vocals were pitch perfect. Perfect Form ended what had been a superb set. Wade played the cello for this song which was spine tingling.

SET LIST

Heavy Heart
Stability
Roulette
War Song/ Cherade
Faker
Hope
Bastard Of All Trade
Perfect Form

At 10.15pm the 11 track set kicked off with début single Been Better which was released on Chess Club last year. This song was rather powerful and blew me away. The harmonies were tight and this number had a strong folk vibe. It’s lyrics were fantastic and I especially liked the chorus which was packed with plenty of energy. Immediately after it was then onto Walk Through Walls B side Courage. Now I really liked this song first it had verses which showcased La Grange’s stunning/ distinctive vocals. Secondly the chorus was belted out and thirdly the harmonising was superb. Courage was delivered at a steady pace and the lyrics fitted perfectly with the melody. “I’m so sorry that you had to wait. We couldn’t make this monitor work and Nick does all the falsetto harmonies. So if he can’t hear himself it would be absolutely awful” an apologetic La Grange said to the intimate audience in regards to the delay in starting. It was then onto début single Walk Through Walls which was a slice of sheer brilliance. There were echoes of Coco Sumner within her vocals. This was an upbeat with a chorus which was packed with a punch.x“I was really scared about following Abi. She was absolutely amazing. Completely blew my mind” and Kyla was absolutely right Abi Ward captivated me and blew my mind as well. To Be Torn was a beautiful ballad which showcased La Grange’s impressive vocal range. This song made me get goosebumps. Her high pitched vocals sounded as she was chanelling Kate Bush. Actually I found To Be Torn to be rather mellow. “We’ve had the most amazing day today in Brighton. I’m sure everyone felt a bit silly coming into a damp cold cellar on the nicest day of the year. At least it’s not that damp and cold any more. I’m not insulting the venue, it’s a really nice venue” Kyla then mentioned to the intimate audience. She had a point though it was cold maybe that was due to the fan that they on during the first two supports. Like Courage, I Could Be appeared as a B side to Been Better. Both of these B sides appear on the début album Ashes though. The bluesy I Could Be was very upbeat and was delivered at a steady pace. “I don’t really have any fun songs but the next song is about as fun as it gets” La Grange said describing the feel of the next song. This being Walk which does not feature on Ashes despite it being an amazing song. Walk was extremely infectious and was delivered at a rampant pace. “The next song we used to play very loud with drums and guitars. I decided that I hated it like that. But we released it as a single like that. It’s sort of a mistake to realize you hate it like that after you’ve released it. We now do it like this and I hope you like it” Kyla said before launching into Heavy Stone. Like she said this version was different compared to the vinyl which was released last year. It actually appears on Ashes as a reworked version. This number was a quiet and soothing. “This is a song that I wrote a very long time ago. It’s the oldest song that will be on the album that’s coming out on 30th July. I made a video for it where we went out into the woods very very late at night. And we all got very cold” La Grange said before getting stuck into the latest single and this being Vampire Smile. Energy flowed from this steady paced number and La Grange literally belted it out. Lyrically this was a dark song when you carefully listen to it “But I’m A Vampire Smile You’ll Meet A Sticky End, And Here I’m Trying Not To Bite Your Neck, But It’s Beautiful And I’m Going To Get, So Drunk On You And Kill Your Friends”.

“Are we running late or are we OK to do the whole set. The next song I’m going to play is a song called Sympathy. We didn’t start playing until quite recently”. By this time it was 11pm and sometimes venues don’t like passing the curfew. Thankfully the set wasn’t cut short. Kyla had picked up her acoustic guitar for Sympathy, again there was a Folk vibe. The harmonising was amazing and nearer the end the song was ever so powerful. At the same time I found it to be rather soothing and hypnotic. “We just have 2 more songs for you and I’ll be at the back selling some cheap CD’s. Thank you for being such a nice audience” La Grange said before Lambs. I picked up on an Irish feel and the lyrics were rather luscious and extremely sweet. “This is our very last song” Kyla said before ending with Catalyst which was due to be the encore. This was a quiet ballad which sounded amazing. Catalyst was delivered at a steady pace and was extremely soft/ mellowing at the same time.

SET LIST

Been Better
Courage
Walk Through Walls
To Be Torn
I Could Be
Walk
Heavy Stone
Vampire Smile
Sympathy
Lambs
Catalyst

OVERALL: One word for this evening SPECTACULAR!

Kyla La Grange was amazing as always. Yes it probably wasn’t completely packed but I find that the more intimate the gig is, the more personal it is to you. La Grange gave it everything and delivered an extraordinary performance. Yes it was disappointing that there were slight technical difficulties but I am glad the set didn’t come to an abrupt end.

As for Abi Wade you could compare her to the likes of Laura Marling. But Wade has something unique that no one has and that being she was a one woman band as well as being a fantastic cello player. The moment she started singing Heavy Heart I was instantly grabbed and pulled in. What was showcased completely captivated me and I look forward to seeing her again in the future.

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