The Boogaloo is a cosy little pub near Highgate station. It feels as if you are walking into a friend's living room; very friendly, welcoming and with a warm atmosphere.
Despite its small size, it is well suited to intimate performances, with a space set out for musicians and a comfortable seated space for an audience.
Blue Monday is a monthly live music event, created as a night for women who identify as LBQT but is inclusive to all. It was nice to find a female centred (and LBQT in particular) event surrounding live music, as they are hard to come by.
We were welcomed by the host MIRI who has been running the night alongside Rosered for the past 7 years. She introduced us to the team which again made us feel very welcome. The venue filled up very quickly for a Monday evening gig. The audience members were encouraged to be respectful to the musicians and were very attentive.
MIRI kicked off the show with a few of her originals. She is a confident, well-polished performer and has a great stage presence. She gave a really dynamic performance, conveying her emotions in the words she was singing.
Her original material was very strong, the first song ‘Electric Vibes’ was a groovy number which gets your feet tapping. It has a catchy and memorable chorus and the reggae guitar complemented her vocals. She informed us that the guitarist had just learnt the chords before they played, so huge props to her for such a flawless performance.
Her vocals were very soulful, with a touch of raspiness, which I love in a female vocal. They had elements of Amy Winehouse and Duffy, and could find themselves placed in the genres of soul, jazz and R&B.
Rob is a singer-songwriter who performed solo with an acoustic guitar. His vocals were clear and smooth and he is obviously a talented guitarist, playing alternative chord positions up and down the neck, and playing intricate finger-style, which we particularly liked in his own song 'Emily'.
His sound reminded us a bit of fellow singers-songwriters Damien Rice and Mason Jennings. His narratives were sung with tuneful melodies, and he made sure the sections contrasted. Rob’s sound is a combination of acoustic/ Americana, with a dash of rock and country thrown in.
We checked out the rest of his EP after the gig and it features some great tracks. Rob is a storyteller, his lyrics incorporate a variety of concepts and strong imagery, such as "the man's face was curled like darkness in a ball", in his song 'Close Your Eyes'.
The Alpacas are an interesting 4-piece band (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, violin and glockenspiel/ melodica), who play soft indie-rock music. The moment they started performing, the singers gentle vocals combined with the melodic glockenspiel and acoustic guitar and immediately brought to mind Belle and Sebastian.
They vocals blended beautifully, in 2 and 3 part harmonies, and they even switched the lead vocalist on the final song, which was a nice touch and demonstrated their versatility.
Their music was delicate and intricate, but they allow for each instrument to be heard and appreciated independently. The glockenspiel and melodica were nice additions to the band, giving their songs a chilled-out summery vibe.
It is clear that Alpacas are a well-rehearsed talented group; right from the John Mayer-esque guitar solos on the electric to the 3 part harmonies and well-constructed lyrics. The Alpacas delivered a captivating performance.
Chris Tanzi immediately intrigued us with her jazz semi-acoustic guitar and double bass accompaniment. Her style is very soulful; she strummed jazz chords which sounded fabulous with the warm rich tones of the guitar, and further warmth was added with the addition of the double bass, an instrument I always find a pleasure to hear.
Her voice was incredibly smooth and pitch-perfect and it is clear she is classically trained, seasoned musician.
Her musical style brought to mind Madeleine Peyroux, Amy Winehouse and her vocals had an air of Katie Melua and Norah Jones. As well as contemporary artists, her style has touches of old-school jazz and soul; containing elements of singers such as Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughn.
Florence performed with her acoustic guitar and immediately blew us away with her strong, clean and controlled voice. She produces a full sound which doesn't need a full band. Her voice and style reminded us of (coincidentally-named) Florence + the Machine, with its slight ambient, chamber-rock feel. The genre she plays is acoustic/ singer-songwriter, with elements of folk.
She mixed her set up with different styles, techniques and guitar tunings; tuning down to drop D in ‘In my House’ a catchy folky number and placing a capo up the neck for 'Spread them Eggs'; the track which gives her EP its name.
'Little Eyes' was a particularly interesting song about intolerance. The honest lyrics described a personal incident - the title a reference to ignorance - hard hitting and to the point, this song resonates an outlet to frustration in the face of ignorance.
Overall, it was a fantastic night filled with musicians of a very high standard. We were very lucky to be put on the bill for the show on the10th of July and are really looking forward to performing then!
Image credit: Ewan Munro: Wikimedia Commons