Last night had me standing in the customary London drizzle outside popular Old Street haunt XOYO. It also had me awaiting the experience of seeing recently featured Indie Shuffle artist RHODES live for the first time. And it was pretty electric.
I did RHODES' intense, raspy vocals little justice in my last review, but I tell you now: the man has some seriously powerful pipes. Opening with the stunning "Run," he proceeded to woo me hook, line, and sinker with a little reverb and a lot of heart that had me utterly captivated.
In any case, the volume of his gut-wrenching raw was lucky, considering the swelling crowd that had gathered to see the show's leading attraction (and the second subject of this live review): Nick Mulvey.
A founding member of the Mercury Prize-nominated jazz ensemble Portico Quartet, Mulvey's eclectic solo sound is awash with laid-back vibes. Influenced by the African styles he discovered while studying at London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and inspired by Bob Dylan and Nick Drake, I'd tentatively compare him to a combination of Jack Johnson and Ben Howard: all soft, vocal purity and super-talented guitar strumming. His lyrics were also refreshing "“ eschewing the favored woes of love and heartbreak, he sang of childhood memories and, uh, thirst.
If, like me, you're in need of a cold weather pick-me-up, Mulvey's organic, rhythmic grooves are just the ticket.