The Ivy House in Nunhead is Britain's first co-operatively owned pub. Built in the 1930s, it was saved from developers in 2012 and re-opened in 2013 as a pub and music venue.
It truly is a beautiful and roomy venue, with wood panelling and a red and gold colour scheme which gives the gilded stage an otherworldly atmosphere.
The line-up for the evening was terrific and very varied.
No fillers there!
Otherworldly is definitely an appropriate term to describe RobinPlaysChords's set, an enticing mixture of fragility and vigour. Robin Jax is one to watch!
Shadow Biosphere is the exciting and ambitious, mainly electronic new project by Lesley Malone and Caroline Jago (both also of Seventh Harmonics and Sol Invictus) inspired by quantum theory and other scientific disciplines as well as the universe. Their set was really immersive and accompanied by beautiful visuals projected at the back of the stage. And yes, we all should get their debut album, Parallel Evolution. I have tried to capture some of the background visuals... Unfortunately, Caroline was mostly in the shadow...
We first encountered Autorotation last February at their own event Can You See Your Shadow? It was great to be able to see them again last Saturday. They didn't have their psychedelic projections with them this time, but it didn't spoil my enjoyment of their set.
They looked perfectly at home among the slightly fantastical decor and embellishments, possibly because their music is so... sparkly!
Music and video art duo DBPIT & XxeNa had flown from Rome exclusively for the event. Their latest project, Lympha Obscura - Ghost from the Voynich Manuscript, is a collaboration between the pair and photographer Daniele Pinti.
The Voynich manuscript is a mysterious handwritten (in an unidentified language) and illustrated manuscript dating back from the Italian Renaissance. Have a look at the wikipedia page I've linked above, it's absolutely fascinating (and for a writer like myself, so inspiring)!
From the monochrome palette of DBPIT & XxeNa's universe to the colourful shores of Raf and O's world. The pair's two albums A Giant in the Snow and Time Machine have been played regularly in my little blue study since I purchased them at the Can You See Your Shadow? event in February 2015. Once again, their (too short) set was magical and they had the room literally transfixed.
Raf stood in the centre of the stage, like a musically-inclined red-haired faery out to bewitch the hell out of us, which of course she did! Unfortunately, O remained hidden in the shadows and I couldn't get a good shot of him...
What makes some human beings seek adventures that involve constant danger and extreme physical discomfort? What pushes mountaineers like Cathy O'Dowd to risk their lives reaching the icy summits of the world? And how do you translate their experiences into a multi-media work of art? Mountain might answer some of those questions. It is a collaboration between three musicians, a film-maker and South African mountaineer and explorer Cathy O'Dowd. We were privileged enough last Saturday to hear Anni Hogan's live piano compositions for Mountain and watch some of the footage taken by Cathy on her Everest expeditions. The film and the music really convey the dangerous beauty of the landscape, the physical fight put on by the human beings rendered so fragile and insignificant in this majestic yet lethal environment. I held my breath and felt the cold descend upon me from the screen... Anni was a bit tucked away in a dark area of the room and therefore my pictures are not very good...
I was really looking forward to Naevus's set, but it was unfortunately cut short due to the soundcheck overrunning quite a bit earlier in the evening. For some reason I had never seen the full band play, although I had seen each band member live before - Lloyd James played a solo set at last year's Kaparte Oxjam (see my blog about it HERE) - I had seen Hunter Barr's excellent KnifeLadder several times and remembered seeing Ben McLees's now defunct Earth Loop Recall on stage once or twice).
The band only played five songs, but it was enough to impress everyone present: Naevus's music is dark, serious and intense, with enough menace to keep us on our toes - an explosion never seems too far away. In a very poignant moment, the band dedicated Dominic's Song to the late John Murphy who left us earlier this month.
The Kaparte Oxjam was once again a fantastic experience with an exceptional line-up and a lovely atmosphere...
One more gig left for me now before I disappear off to deepest Dorset for a month to try and work on my third novel!
I think therefore I write.
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