What better way to escape the “election fever” which was gripping the nation last Thursday than going to listen to some live acoustic music? And that’s exactly what I chose to do, and headed for the intimate Camden Chapel in NW London to hear two upcoming (and extremely talented) UK singer/songwiters, headliner Sabine and opener Drew Thomas.
The venue was new to me, and contrary to its name is actually a 40 capacity listeningroom at the very top of an imposing townhouse which is home for The London Irish Centre (there’s a licensed bar on the premises) tucked away in a residential street. There’s a small number of chairs down each side and colourful floor cushions scattered in the centre of the room, very bohemian, and the sloping ceiling helps add to the air of intimacy and of course enhance the acoustics.
Drew Thomas played a really impressive 30 minute opening set, his vocals were some of the best I’ve heard from a male artist in a long time (range, flexibility and emotion all spot on) and his keyboard accompaniment was superb too. Hailing from Nottingham but now resident in London, his self-penned songs were lyrically very strong, I particularly liked one of his newer writes “Somebody You Needed” which reflected on the good times in a deteriorating relationship, and “Just Getting By” which was released this year
He also threw a very competent cover of his favourite band Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” into the mix… yes, Drew is an artist I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on.
Headliner Sabine is an artist who came to our attention this April when she released the single “Love Is Not Enough” from her debut EP “Intertwined” which came out shortly afterwards (read our interview here https://www.bellesandgals.com/2019/04/08/introducing-uk-artist-sabine/ ) .
It’s been a busy year for her on both sides of the pond, which included her playing a full band set at O2 Academy Islington and performing at The Texas Sounds International Country Music Awards in Jefferson.
Sabine’s lyrics are beautifully poetic and express very relatable feelings/situations so well, many of her songs including the aforementioned single coming out of a painful relationship break up last year .
This gig saw Sabine accompanied on acoustic guitar/ keys/ background vocals by her band member Nye James, and her soft voice with its rich, velvety tone paired with her confident and emotional delivery really drew the audience in throughout. The two short sets were dominated by ballads which she seems to lean towards and naturally included songs from “Intertwined” but also gave us a taste of what we can expect from her next project, an EP which Nye has produced and which is due for release in early 2020. Her trips to the States this year have helped further hone her writing skills it seems (she cowrote several songs with Nashville based Laura Mustard) and from on what I heard on Thursday I am really excited to hear the results… judging by the response from others in the room I am not alone!. Particularly impressive was her most recent write “Heart Of Mine” about the complexities of love, and her upcoming single “How Do You Sleep At Night?” out on 6th March which to my mind this is one of her best songs to date. Slightly punchier and with more attitude than her other material (well, it is about a love rat!) it has apparently been recorded both acoustically and as a full band version.
A couple of covers were added to the set list, her version of her favourite song from one of her biggest musical inspirations, Joan Armatrading’s “The Weakness In Me” was absolutely stunning, and the festive favourite “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” rounded off what was a really enjoyable evening… thank you to all involved, including promotors Talentbanq.
Keep in touch with all Sabine’s news at her brand new website sabineofficial.com links to her socials and spotify playlist.
Review written by Lesley Hastings (twitter.com/lesleyhastings)