Review: BBC Introducing at Harlow Playhouse

Harlow Playhouse / Thu 13th Oct 2016 pm31 02:58pm

By Karla Mouncey Jaggers

WHEN thinking of Harlow Playhouse, intimate gigs with live unsigned bands is not generally the image conjured up. When booking tickets for BBC Music Introducing Essex I was totally unsure of what the evening would entail. When arriving at the newly revamped playhouse bar and café the atmosphere was very different from any I had experienced there. There was a buzz in the air, the general age was a lot younger and the unmistakable background noise of sound checks was humming through the walls. When entering the Studio, a small black box type theatre that often shows personal and provocative theatre shows I was pleased to find it was also transformed into a music space. Most of the seats were out of use and where the performance space typically was was filled with high tables and a small crowd holding pints and chatting nosily. The stage, if you can call it that was placed at one wall and a microphone stood front and centre invitingly. BBC Music Introducing Essex had transformed this familiar theatre space into a music lounge.

After a very short and clipped introduction the first of the unsigned artists “Reigns” took the stage. At first glance Reigns’ image is memorable, she stands in an almost timid way, styled in a cross between Daenerys Targaryen and Sporty Spice I was eager to see if her music matched her unique look. The timidity she’d shown whilst introducing songs melts away as she starts to sing and a ferocious and powerful presence is revealed. Her voice, mixed with each track harmoniously and each song was an encompassing performance as opposed to a voice set to music. At times it was hard to hear the lyrics of the song but this seemed to be intentional as the overall sound was improved. The song that stuck out for me was “You Killed This Love” a pounding rhythm flows through this track; it makes the audience feel a sense of kinship with the songwriter who has managed to translate the feeling of heartache into the sound. Each song ends abruptly and although this can be slightly jarring it added a drama to them. Reigns’ music was striking, this is the kind of music you can just sit and listen to, and it’s the type of music I can’t wait to learn the lyrics of.

After a short break the next musicians were up. Flyzig; a very different type of music to Reigns this five piece band were a mixture a few different genres, think Matt Bellamy fronting the Artic Monkeys. Most of their songs were up-tempo and had most of the room tapping or dancing along. The band’s looks was overly casual, each in neutral colours which worked to make them appear synchronised. They were extremely well rehearsed and worked wonderfully together, evenly matched in talent and stage presence. I do have to pick out the drummer Michael Christian, who worked the drum kit like it was a canvas. I found the order of songs a bit disjointed, each song was good but it appeared a bit like different periods in the bands history. There were a few moments I thought I could decipher what genre this band fits into and then they would change my mind with a low tempo emotive track, it was a frenetic set and I’m undecided if this was a good thing. To their credit the fan base for Flyzig was out in force, for an unsigned band they had a large amount of the crowd singing along and cheering when each song was announced. I really enjoyed Flyzig, this is music you can dance along to during a mad moment but also take time to slow down and listen to the evocative lyrics if the mood strikes you.

BBC Music Introducing Essex was part of an ever expanding list of shows and plays that Harlow Playhouse are putting on under the “Pay What You Can” programme. The idea of this is pretty simple, it’s all in the name. This programme is fantastic, it makes theatre and the arts accessible to anybody, simply book your ticket completely free and then decide on the night how much you would like to pay for it. All the shows I have seen under “Pay What You Can” have been outstanding and shows I would happily pay full price for. BBC Music Introducing Essex is running every month and I would highly recommend you book tickets for the next one.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

No Comments for Review: BBC Introducing at Harlow Playhouse:

Leave a Comment Below:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *