Review: Shh Festival Of Quiet Music, Bush Hall, Feb 1st

So the Shh Festival of Quiet Music took upon itself to nurse our Sunday hangovers and gently reaffirm our faith in the world through the less abrasive side of music on show this evening in Shepherds Bush. All in all it did a pretty fine job.

Here’s a guide to some of musicmule’s favourite performances from the night:

Olivia Chaney, Shh Festival of Quiet Noise, Feb 09

First up is Olivia Chaney complete with her Indian Harmonium and a voice you’ll be hearing a lot more from with any luck. We are treated to a couple of Olivia’s own quintessentially English sounding folk songs as well as an expertly delivered French number ‘A Upres de ma Blonde’ and an interpretation of ‘Oblivion Soave’ from Monteverdi’s Poppea opera. Olivia is versatile to say the least and could have easily fitted in higher up the bill.

Animal Magic Tricks, Shh Festival of Quiet Music, Feb 1st 09

Animal Magic Tricks are second to catch the ear. One lady band Frances Laura Donnely also possesses a voice that could melt the evening’s sudden downpour of snow. Her songs are unconventional folk ditties which make use of toy keyboards and strange sounding loops evoking comparisons to Tunng and even Animal Collective’s school of song making. At one point Frances samples herself blowing into the mic and with this initially offensive sound she manages to somehow make a song that works on a weird level. The only disappointment is that Animal Magic Tricks offered no Animals nor magic tricks. Just one measly rabbit out a hat would have kept me quiet.

Left With Pictures, Shh Festival of Quiet Music, Feb 1st 09

Left With Pictures are one of the main reasons I’m here this evening. it’s the first chance I’ve had to catch the band since getting into their songs through myspace earlier this year. I’ve been completely hooked since that discovery and the band reproduce the songs perfectly live tonight. In true spirit of the nature of the festival the band elect to perform their set without even microphones or amps. Armed solely with duelling voices, guitar, piano and violin the band take us through songs such as ‘Bow and Arrows’ and ‘Secretly’ from the recent EP of the same name. As on record the songs are strong vocally with folk undertones and pop hooks that should help take these guys get through to bigger audiences. I can’t wait to see them again.

David Thomas Broughton, Shh Festival of Quiet Music, Feb 1st 09

David Thomas Broughton is another nice surprise for me this evening. It’s not a bad evening of music when you go home wanting to explore two new artists (Olivia Chaney being the first). Well done Localism! David describes himself as the gypsy Freddie Mercury which seems quite apt this evening. He’s another solo performer who cleverly loops his own instrumentation and vocals to add layers upon layers to his witty folk tales. David’s rich voice and presence are what separate him from the run of the mill in his class and he really does have a Freddie Mercury like aura about him as he stomps about the stage and then suddenly exits after his closing number. Very impressive.

Liz Green, Shh Festival of Quiet Music, Feb 1st 09

Liz Green is the other reason we were drawn to Shh Festival in the first place. Liz’s name has been hot on a lot of people’s lips since last year when she started to turn heads with her single ‘Bad Medicine’ and its sharp, eloquent, toe-tapping Nina Simone like delivery. I’d always had the impression that she was a shy person but she is far from it tonight. She takes the stage and reads us a poem she’d written on her journey here which serves as a nice ice breaker but it’s the music we’re hungry for and that voice of course. Liz is on top form delivering with a swagger songs like ‘Midnight Blues’ and the crowd pleaser of the night in ‘Bad Medicine’. So then, definitely worthy my anticipation and all the attention she is attracting. Watch this space.

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