Serafina Steer @ Rough Trade East 14th January 2013

English born Serafina Steer is an artist that I haven’t had the pleasure seeing live. In fact I am actually a brand new fan of hers after falling in love with the new LP The Moths Are Real. I chose to attend after seeing her name listed on the Rough Trade website, listened to the music then turned up on the day. I was actually really surprised how many people there were in attendance waiting for the show to start. Yes it did start to fill at 7pm but with the fact it was album of the month at Rough Trade plus Jarvis Cocker produced the album you would of thought at least some people would have been there earlier.

The set started just a few minutes after 7pm. Now what makes Steer different from the rest is the fact that the only instrument she plays is the harp which made every track both entrancing and hypnotic. What was to be sung was mainly a showcase of material from The Moths Are Real and a couple of oldies added in for good measure. Opening up this extraordinary 30 minute set was Machine Room which is the 2nd song on The Moths Are Real. This was a rather promising song and it is a random subject to sing about. Steer sings about “Going below to take a look in the Machine Room. In my boiler suit and hard hat”. I really liked this song and the vocals were quite something and the harp made it rather mellowing. For some reason I got goosebumps and I was relaxed. After plenty of applause it was into the next tune of the evening and this being Night Before Mutiny which is actually the new albums opening track. There was a nautical theme to this track as it was a whimsical song about ships. Well I say ships but I just mean the one which was called Serafina. I found Night Before Mutiny to be an epic song which was delivered with plenty of gusto. “This song used to be attached via a cosmic portal and it went with a song called Alien Invasion. But I thought that was gimmicky, so I ditched it” Steer then said to the intimate audience before getting stuck into Island Odyssey. This is a mixed bag as at first you think is is a love ballad “I am a flower/You are a flower” then the lyrics take a turn with the line “They killed your pigs and drank your wine”. The Moths Are Real which is the albums title track was the next to be played. In this song Serafina sings about having conversations with Venus. I found this to be chilled out/ uplifting and I was captivated from beginning to end. “This next song is called How To Haunt A House Party. It’s actually an old song that we’ve reworked” Steer then said before launching into something from the sophomore album Change Is Good, Change Is Good. How To Haunt A House Party was in fact quite quirky and there was an electro vibe to it which worked perfectly. World Of Love was next and that was followed by the penultimate song of the evening and this being Alien Invasion. Now this was a galactic song about space and aliens. Now I really liked this track as it was quite pacey. Things then came to a head with Uncomfortable which was taken from 2007’s début album Cheap Demo, Bad Science. This was uptempo and quirky at the same time.

SET LIST

Machine Room
Night Before Mutiny
Island Odyssey
The Moths Are Real
How To Haunt A House Party
World Of Love
Alien Invasion
Uncomfortable

OVERALL: With this being the first time I had witnessed Serafina Steer I can categorically say that I most definitely see her again in the future. Steer is one talented harpist and her vocal ability is extraordinary. Album The Moths Are Real is a right belter which is packed with 12 stellar tracks. I really want to hear more of them performed live and also How To Haunt A House Party and the hilarious Uncomfortable has made me want to hear more of Serafina’s older material.

All in all Serafina Steer is a true talent and she is someone you really need to see. I myself liked the fact that she plays the harp as it makes me feel relaxed and her vocals gel with it perfectly. The style of the music that Steer sings is Folkish and she reminded me of a cross of Natasha Khan and Regina Spektor.

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