Review: The Veils & Alessi’s Ark & Scott McFarnon, Windmill Brixton, Feb 4th 09

The Veils, Windmill, feb 4th 09 by musicmuleblog

The Windmill is one of my favourite venues due to their ability to pull stellar lineups out of the bag. On this occasion however thanks are also due to The Veils for electing to take Alessi’s Ark on a string of UK dates with them.

After a slippery walk on icy Brixton side streets to get to the venue I’m just in time to catch a few songs from Scott McFarnon. Scott oozes confidence and charisma on stage. He plays alone on his acoustic guitar and has a depth and range of voice that you don’t often expect to hear from a support act. Scott has recently co-written with Beyonce and you can hear the pop and sometimes hip hop edge to his  guitar tunes. They’re not all for me but you can’t deny the guy’s talent – one for the mainstream perhaps?

The success of the evening for me came from Alessi and her band a.k.a. Alessi’s Ark.

Alessi, Windmill, Feb 4th 09 by musicmule

Alessi is a Londoner in her late teens who lives at home with her mother, is signed to Virgin records and releases her debut album sometime in April I’m informed. She has a child like wonder in her eyes and small talk with the crowd and this seems reflected in her songs which possess a fairy tale quality to them much like those of Joanna Newsom. For those who can’t quite stomach the sometimes squeal of Joanna Newsom (myself not included) then Alessi could be the freak folk choice for you. A great band performance should also be commended as this was their first gig together.

The Veils pack a few punches themselves, most notably frontman Finn Andrew and his raw, emotional vocals which perfectly compliment the bluesy, scratchy guitars and distortion that feature in a lot of their songs. His and the band’s strength are epitomised on track ‘Jesus for The Jugular’ which sees them in full rock mode while older track ‘Calliope’ is more melodic and reminds of The Killers when they were good.  Like the acts that preceded, much to the crowds delight, The Veils play with an admirable ferocity and seem to be enjoying themselves. So much so in fact that mid set we get a blown guitar. At this point Finn holds the fort performing a song which he wrote after first moving to these shores from New Zealand. The crowd are delighted at this rare opportunity to hear this old gem and alas it seems that not even technological defects can stop this from being a fine performance. The rest of the band’s London dates are now sold out but they’ll be back to play the considerably larger Dingwalls in Camden this April, look out for a post on the gig soon.

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