Chasing Grace @ The Social 3rd February 2014

Currently signed to Island Records are Chasing Grace. Hailing from Hertfordshire this duo consist of 20 year old Phil Plested and 18 year old Grace Ackerman. Now Chasing Grace were playing a 4 week residency at The Social. The last time I attended something like this was to see Cloud Control during their 4 week residency. This was something I was debating shall I go or shall I not. I had never witnessed Chasing Grace before but I knew they were good as they supported Ellie Goulding on tour last year. I listened to the material and liked it and was well gutted that I missed out on the Hammersmith show. What swung it for me was when Lauren Aquilina announced that she would be supporting. From that very moment I booked my ticket.

Doors opened at 7pm and it kicked off with an hours DJ set. The music kicked off with Prose who were amazing and talented. But for me the main attraction of the night was Lauren Aquilina. Now Aquilina is someone I have plenty of time for and I have seen her blossom and gain ALOT of confidence. She has just revealed that the Liars EP which is the final part of the trilogy will be released 10th March and will consist of 4 tracks Lovers Or Liars, Forest Fire, Square One and Broke. Also this month Lauren will be embarking on a nationwide tour which is almost sold out. I must not forget Aquilina has headlined Reading and Leeds last year (It may have been the BBC Introducing Stage but headlining is quite an achievement). Taking to the stage around 9pm a solo Lauren Aquilina took to her keyboard. “Hi, this song is called Sinners” she then said before kick starting the set with the title track of the 2nd EP. Sinners was one incredible song and it had been perfectly written. The vocals were faultlessly delivered and what I liked is that the lyrics clearly tell a story. Sinners was delivered at a mid tempo and it was contagious as well. “So let’s be sinners to be saints/ And let’s be winners by mistake / The world may disapprove but my world is only you/ And if we’re sinners then it feels like heaven to me”. Next it was Lauren’s very own Beyonce song and this being Talk To Me which was a ballad. This was packed with a punch. You could tell that Lauren put everything into this and it resulted in being something utterly brilliant. Once over it was onto a cover of one of Lauren’s favourite bands and the band being The 1975 and the song being Sex. Now this had her very own stamp of originality on it. As it was just Lauren and the keyboard the pace had slowed down a great deal compared to the original. Sex was one infectious song and Aquilina put everything into delivering this to perfection.

It was then onto what Lauren said was a cheeky exclusive and this being a tune that she hadn’t played live before and this being Broke which features on the upcoming Liars EP. This was completely unexpected because I thought Aquilina would of left all the EP tracks for the tour. Forest Fire is the only Liars EP track I have not heard. Back to Broke, well this was a sad song dealing with affairs of the heart. “Your love is worth a fortune, But my heart’s already broke”. This is one that definitely gets me excited for the new EP. Yes Lauren was right this is sad and you can also pick up on the sense of pain. Basically what it is saying is if you really love someone and they break your heart, It is extremely hard to give that person a second chance as they already damaged what you did have. Following on was the lead track from the new EP and this being the not so cheery Lovers Or Liars. This again deals with a relationship. It is actually slightly emotional as the lyrics depict a relationship with neither wanting to face the actual truth whether if there is a future or not. The vocal delivery was spotless, Aquilina literally belted out this at ease. Before some plugging of the forthcoming tour it was then onto Fools which ended this incredible short but sweet set. It was delivered at a fast pace aided by a sublime vocal performance. My favourite part had to be the middle 8. The singable part of this superb song was the line “What if we ruin it all and we love like fools, And all we have we loose”. It was easy to say that Fools is a pleasing number which was highly addictive.

SET LIST

Sinners
Talk To Me
Sex
Broke
Lovers Or Liars
Fools

Taking to the stage just after 9.30 were Chasing Grace. Phil and Grace were at the forefront of this band. I was looking forward to this set mainly because of the fact I hadn’t witnessed them play live before. Back when they were confirmed to support Ellie Goulding last year I checked out some of the tracks and what I heard was amazing. I predict big things for them and Chasing Grace are a band you need to keep an eye on. Also they are signed to Naughty Boy Recordings/ Island Records. The set consisted of 7 songs, 5 being original material. It was So Strong that opened things up. Now this was a Naughty Boy track which they featured on. Both Plested and Ackerman leant their song writing skills to make this cracking number. Now Phil took the lead for this with Grace adding in the luscious harmonies. This was Folk and Plested’s vocals were husky (a bit like Marcus Mumford). As the song progressed the pace picked up and became stronger. So Strong was delivered to complete perfection. “Welcome to The Social. That last song was a song we did with Naughty Boy” Plested then said to the intimate audience and also mention they didn’t expect this many people (who were in attendance). Grace then introduced the next number of the evening as the debut single Free. Both Philip and Grace had their own solo parts to this tune. Now I adored this and both of their vocals geld together perfectly. You had Plested with his warm/ rich vocal tones and then you had Ackerman whose vocals were extremely smooth. Free was a foot stomping track which oozed plenty of energy. “I’m Finally Free To Go To A Place Where They Really Want Me”. Free was a promising tune and I look forward to watching the Official Music Video at the end of the week and hear the studio version when it is released on 10th March. It actually felt like a hoedown towards the end of this fantastic number. Next it was onto a cover by James Arthur. Philip Plested mentioned that it was crazy to write a track for his album (this song being Certain Things which they also feature on). The cover in question being Roses. I must say this take was outstanding and it was nice to see it from a brand new perspective. Chasing Grace completely owned this and definitely did it justice. I must say it was incredibly short and sweet. Roses was over before it even began. Once over Phil tuned his guitar whist Grace filled in with some banter by saying how Trust featured on their first EP Dinner Will Be Served. Now this song was simply spectacular and was sung at a steady pace aided by a powerful vocal performance. It was then onto something upbeat and this will feature on the album when it is released sometime this year. The song in question being Another Type Of Love and this was out of this world. This was a slow starter but as soon as it progressed the pace picked up and was packed with a punch. My favourite had to be the chorus which makes you tempted to jump up and down. The final number of the evening involved some audience participation where everyone chanted the line Run Away. This was 100% pure fun you could see that the band were enjoying themselves. Grace was even jumping up and down on stage. Run was sheer brilliance, the song itself had been excellently written whist the vocals were strong. In my eyes this was the perfect track to cap off the first night of the residency at The Social. Only that wasn’t the end. The encore was two songs that were infused together and this being Goodness Gracious by Ellie Goulding and Certain Things by James Arthur which they featured on. The Ellie part was only a snippet whilst the majority was of James Arthur’s Certain Things which I rather adored. In the middle of this mash up Philip introduced the rest of the band whom were Ellis Mortimer, Phil Leigh and Matt Holmes.

Once over I made my exit on a high after attending one spectacular gig.

SET LIST

So Strong
Free
Roses
Trust
Another Type Of Love
Run

ENCORE

Goodness Gracious/ Certain Things

OVERALL: First I must mention Prose. Now they were a band led by a rapper. It was different but worked wonders. Whilst witnessing this the first artist that popped in my head was Plan B. This Manchester group offered plenty of promise making them one to look out for.

Now where can I start with Lauren Aquilina. This is one talented female singer/ songwriter and I’m extremely proud with everything which she has achieved. Just having the opportunity to see her perform in such an intimate setting is incredibly special. As for the set a solo Aquilina was pitch perfect and delivered 6 songs perfectly. The set Lauren played was predictable bar 2 songs. Sex came as a complete surprise as Lauren played Bastille’s Flaws during sound check and just hearing the first ever live performance of Broke was rather special (now that song is a corker. Makes me look forward to the Liars EP next month).

Lastly Chasing Grace were phenomenal. The set that they played was a slice of what they can offer. Another Type Of Love was incredible live and it makes me look forward to the début LP. I adored Free whilst Run oozed bundles of fun. Roses they completely made their own whilst the encore mash up of Goodness Gracious and Certain Things was intriguing. Once over I left The Social as a Chasing Grace fan. Seriously this band are ones to watch out for. If you are free any Monday in February then go check them out because you wont be dissapointed. Plus it is only £7 which is a complete bargain.

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