Other Voices, Wilton's Music Hall, London
Nick Hasted has been a film journalist since 1986. He writes about film, music, books and comics for The Independent, Sight & Sound, Uncut and Little White Lies. He has published two books: The Dark Story of Eminem (2002), and You Really Got Me: The Story of The Kinks (2011), both from Omnibus Press.
Monday 08 April 2013
The Other Voices festival has been bringing big and new names to the tiny St. James church in Dingle, County Kerry for a decade. For this franchising expedition to London, Dexys, Laura Marling, John Grant, Villagers, Imelda May and Matthew E. White are amongst those playing short sets in the similarly old, intimate, lovely Wilton’s Music Hall. Subsidised by TV coverage hosted by Aidan Gillen, over three nights, rare, close-up snapshots of the varied musicians take shape.
Laura Marling, focusing on her new album Once I Was An Eagle, uses her pale beauty with still power, her strong gaze matching the songs’ arresting pile-ups of imagery. If you think the torrents of words recall Dylan, well, “It ain’t me, babe,” she chides on “Master Hunter”, and if she hardly seems the devil-marked woman of “Pray For Me”, her desire to try on characters and stories, not confess, is her most Dylanesque trait. Oxford’s Stornoway, though, offer the weekend’s most powerful renewal of the hard verities which are folk music’s currency. “November Song” recounts the fundamental comforts of home and a mother’s love. Then “The Ones We Hurt The Most” details a selfless parent’s painful death. The detail brings tears from me.
Stornoway also describe rooted journeys, a theme too of Villagers - essentially Conor O’Brien. The impish, centuries-skipping shaggy dog story “Earthly Pleasure” is the most expansive and rewarding song by this sometimes preciously sensitive, keening-voiced young Irishman. “Take your Irish stereotype,” suggests Dexys’ Wolverhampton Irish singer Kevin Rowland on “Nowhere Is Home”, “and stick it up your arse.” Daring ridicule and absurdity in reaching for truth and style, he even rejigs “Geno” as a quest for identity. John Grant would understand. Beginning with “TMF”’s lacerating character auto-assassination, he dives deep into his own unhealthy, unbalanced emotions.
Newer names range from Laura Mvula, already fast-tracked to success and capable of bluesy emoting and straight-driving Afro-funk, and 16-year-old Irish girl Bridie Monds-Watson, aka SOAK, whose pure voice and sharpness of metaphor are precocious. Virginian Matthew E. White, though, just breaking through with his debut Big Inner, is the biggest coup. The fast, funky, Jackson 5-style pop of “Steady Pace”, in which he and the bassist formation-step like Motown old-timers, and “Gone Away”’s contemplative then finally transcendent, heaven-wrestling gospel show his range. His essentially hippie sensibility is the last, happy voice we hear.
A The film has amassed an estimated $28.7 million in its opening weekend
A statement was published on his fansite, True To You, following release of new album
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Three of Pope Francis' relatives die in Argentina car crash, including two young great-nephews
- 2 Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
- 3 Here’s the damning letter Robin Williams wrote to his Mrs Doubtfire co-star's principal after they expelled her
- 4 Ferguson protests: 90-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein ‘arrested’ by police during St Louis demonstrations
- 5 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
JK Rowling releases new Harry Potter story on Pottermore: Introducing Celestina Warbuck, the 'Singing Sorceress'
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Reading Festival 2014: Tesco branch replaces salad and potatoes for Jagermesiter and vodka
Celebrity Big Brother 2014 contestants: Meet Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney
Kate Bush: Previously unseen photographs reveal new side to comeback star
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict