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Sophie And The Giants + Novacub

Thursday 12th September 2019

The Lexington, Islington, London

A slightly last minute decision to head off to Islington’s Lexington last Thursday turned out to be a most wise choice as not only did I manage to get our own AJ into a jolly nice venue that he had not been to before, but we also heard two fabulous bands who are most definitely on the way up, demonstrated by the fact that the venue was a sell out! We made our way into the Lexington with its lofty ceilings and trendy north London crowd, grabbed our craft beers and made our way upstairs to a small but very sympathetic music venue, with the best view from the bar!
The evening was kicked off in fine style by Novacub, originating from SW London.  Louise Bartle on vocals and guitar, dressed in her pale pink boiler suit oozed personality from the start. She indeed has a fine voice, which she made even more colourful by the use of a range of effects including a megaphone! She bounced around the stage, occasionally folded double with the passion put into the lyrics.  And there are some catchy tunes here in an Indie Pop Punk style, although some nifty guitar work from Russell Lissack on lead guitar and Iona Thomas on bass gave a nineties dance vibe on their latest single ‘Strike’. The drums, by Tony Alda, give the track a jangly feel and the growing crowd like what they hear! The tracks ‘I Still Need It’ and ‘Wait Up’ continue into what clearly is a commercially attractive set list.  Only problem I have, is that it was all over too soon! However, at the bar afterwards, we confirmed that there is more to come from Novacub, which is good news indeed!
As the last few vacant places are filled, the venue anticipates the arrival of the headliners, ‘Sophie and the Giants’. Another great discovery from my Spotify (damn or praise that AI algorithm)! SATG are at the start of their headline tour which takes them across Europe after the Lexington kick off, finishing off back in the UK in October. Interestingly, the single ‘The Light’ has been picked up by Vodafone Deutschland in their latest campaign which demonstrates the interest across the channel in the band. Enter Sophie Scott, power dressed in an open suit followed by her ‘Giants’, Toby Holmes on lead guitar, Antonia Pooles on bass and Chris Hill on drums, to a warm welcome from the expectant crowd. And we are not disappointed - Sophie has a fantastic voice that has a great depth and warmth, powerful, but not overbearing. The quality of the music is tangible. Catchy riffs, powerful tunes, enough to get the crowd quickly singing along in empathy. The band are clearly enjoying their performance, Chris on the drums is absorbed and producing endless energy. How Antonia contorts with her bass is beyond me! I asked her afterwards and she claims she uses the bass as a counterweight as she almost doubles in half backwards. Me, I’d put my back out for a month if I tried that!
Sophie is soon climbing over the stage and engaging the crowd with the singles ‘Waste My Air’ about the end of a bad relationship and ‘Bulldog’ about domestic violence, “don’t mess with the bulldog”. The change in style for ‘Monsters’ gives an eerie atmosphere and Sophie is crouching down growling at the audience! Impressive stuff, and although I think most of the crowd were sold beforehand, there is a wave of enthusiastic appreciation as the set comes to a conclusion, again just too soon!
We met up at the bar with Sophie, the band and proud parents. Originating in Guildford and having met at music college, the band moved to Sheffield to pursue their careers in the music industry, having had informal mentoring from Reverend and the Makers. Debbie Harry is Sophie’s hero and having heard Blondie live, Sophie is definitely in the same league. These guys have the talent, the passion and are such nice people too! They have the quality, so there is a high probability you could hear them as the theme music for an advert soon, or even better, pop along and see them live. You cannot help but have a jolly nice time!
Chris Bourlet

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