Monday, 28 January 2013

#ESPpotlight Review: Rock The Belles, Bedroom Bar, 26th Jan

The snow did me the kind courtesy of doing one Saturday night, enabling me to go and enjoy myself at a club night that I haven't been to since the event's early days back in 2011.

Arriving just in the nick of time to be thoroughly soothed by beautiful tones; Miss Ava Leigh made a fan out of me by the third line of her first song - around the exact time that the Sound Fairies raised her mic levels, so that we could fully enjoy her amazing talents. Listening to her I got that same, 'hair on the back of my neck' electric chill I experienced the first time I saw Amy Winehouse live (in the beginning, when it was just her and her guitar on an HMV stage); the only thing wrong with this superb lady's 5-song set, was that there was no volume dial for the unappreciative crowd, too remiss to realise this was a moment that live music fans would value, just for the nostalgia.

Ava Leigh opened the Live portion of Saturday night's show...

The abrupt start to DJ Lisa T's Dance set seemed to be just what the crowd had been waiting for. Replacing the acoustic guitar that DJ / Organiser Emily Rawson and Ava herself later told me she barely knew how to play, with some bass-thumping beats from the decks; the house started rocking, in keeping with the monthly night's theme.

Live Indie Band The Cry Baby

The Cry Baby were an Indie band well-received in part, I'm sure, due to the adorable, pixie-like demeanour of lead singer Anna Waldmann, who couldn't help but be endearing even if she tried. Picture The Cardigans during their 'Gran Turismo' period, only with a brunette upfront and you've got an idea of what the band are all about.

Emily's turn on the decks was next, when Hip-Hop classics from  Missy, Q-Tip and Lauryn through to some of RnB's finest moments from Justin, De La Soul featuring the Queen that is Ms. Chaka and Sunshine Anderson, had so many on their feet that the tables had to be cleared.

One of MTV's 'Brand New for 2013' and Rizzle Kicks support Act,
Little Nikki
Disgruntled annoyance met the lowered levels, until the cause was established - headliner Little Nikki was ready to take the stage.

A stark contrast to the acoustic serenity of Ava Leigh and the sombre calm of The Cry Baby; Little Nikki, her dancers and their high-energy set made it clear why this 16-year-old, with harmonies and vocals that belied her years, is an MTV 'Brand New for 2013' favourite. Fresh off a stint supporting Rizzle Kicks on tour, something about her freshness, vitality and 'can't tell me nothin' confidence reminded me of Ms. Dynamite when she exploded onto the scene, with a little touch of Mz Bratt about her for added hot sauce. There's no doubt that this little teen rebel is destined for chart domination-remember I told you so (I mean MTV may have done first, but consider this me concurring)...

Emily kept Little Nikki's vibe going, returning for the Dance portion of her DJ set and please believe that no-one, especially not Yours Truly, kept still.

I wasn't the only one enjoying myself I learned, as I got chatting to a lovely Bostonian Finance Manager down from Oxford for the night, who "Just wanted to come have fun in London and dance to some female DJs". Keen to learn more about the brand's event calendar before she flies home in a week, the night made quite the impression, as she told me how much she loved the completely "different atmosphere" of the British club night in comparison to what she's used to.

Proving the ladies can get just as 'technical' as the
fellas - Emily Rawson and Lisa T handle business...
I had to imagine those were the kind of moments that make the job worthwhile, after watching the decks get bumped for the 507th time in under 30 minutes, I flashed back to cult film classic 'House Party' and chuckled to myself. I'm pretty sure that not a one of those moments were worthwhile...Instead I couldn't help but wonder if we weren't hearing every DJ's anthem when Emily pressed play on Ludacris' 'Move B*tch (Get Out The Way)'...Combined with surviving the near-death experience that was the venue's air-con unit giving up the ghost (and several liquid volumes), right next to the plug points in use for the whole DJ set up without skipping a single beat in the mix, I developed a completely new-found respect for what these Ladies deal with in a night - they truly are SOLDIERS (Never fear, Management got right on the case and rescued the gang before any danger actually befell them)!

(l-r) Emily Rawson, Lisa T and DJ Fearney
There was no way I was heading home without catching the lovely DJ Fearney on the 1s and 2s though. A long-time fan of her set style; it's no wonder one of dejavufm's favourites is a veteran across the club night's brands. From House, to the best of Old Skool Garage, to Bashment classics and beyond;  Fearney raised the roof and I neither confirm nor deny whether it's been lowered yet as alas, the talents of the lady in question sent me on my merry way on a high - with the Bell on this Belle, well and truly Rocked.

Rock The Belles takes place on the last Friday of every month. Visit the website for full event details.

View photos from the night on the ESP Ltd. Facebook Page.

See you next time!
ES ;)