Monday 27 May 2024

Live Review: Porridge Radio (solo) + Naima Bock - The Gate, Cardiff 24 May 2024

It's funny how time flies. I last found myself at Cardiff's arts and community space The Gate over 11 years ago. In an almost nostalgic trip down memory lane I was lucky enough to be back, and in fine company with Porridge Radio and Naima Bock performing solo in what promised to be a spectacular and emotional affair. I really shouldn't leave it so long next time.

With everyone hustled inside of the Grade 2 listed building, nestled together on ex-church pews, Naima Bock took to the stage. It's an intimate performance space, made all the more daunting by the large empty floor with everyone sat in the surrounding seats, yet this served as no barrier as her intricate folk-infused melodies glistened around the room. With added strings to really cement the achingly fraught and often stirring soundscapes, the slow crescendos built in to her music delivered an overwhelming and powerful introduction to the night. Bock's vocals are a true power and in this setting truly come to light as they echoed above the intertwined harmonies and soft acoustic guitar strums. It still amazes me after all these years writing about music that new artists are still so readily available for discovering. It looks like I have some homework to do as I catch up on her solo catalogue.  

A short while later and Dana Margolin unassumingly took centre stage as she shuffled between her amp and mic stand. As the crowd slowly made their way back inside, her guitar strums softly signified the start of proceedings as they began to usher everyone in to a silence as the background noise quietened. It was evident she was taking no prisoners interacting with the crowd - "How are my cowards doing at the back" she muttered to the fans all sat perched on the wooden benches, hidden away in the shadows. Quickly enticed, many soon slithered down to the floor for an attentive position amongst the intimate show.

Mixing up old songs and new, one number being penned only a week prior, the evenings set proved to be a true roller coaster of emotion as her explosive vocals detonated from the expulsion of her frantic guitar playing. Songs that sound upbeat on record, as a solo set, stripped back, suddenly become an entirely different beast. 7 Seconds a prime example as the keyboard synths and jazzy guitars are no more, and we're left with a pensive guitar drone that set alight its backdrop of heartbreaking lyrics as she cried "I taught you love And you never gave me enough".

The sheer vocal prowess on display served to be a true catharsis as any pent up anger and emotional toil was expensed in true Dana fashion as her towering and enthralling delivery filled every corner of the room. 

Drowned in despondency and resounding melancholy, the evening rounded up with a request segment as fans shouted out tracks they wanted to hear. And after much deliberation Danish Pastry Lyrics was tentatively chosen as she pondered if she could still play it. A track that served to be rather inefficacious as its outro lyrics "I can't make you feel (I can't make you feel)" certainly had the opposite effect tonight. With a standing ovation, I think it'd be a valid claim to say this is the very definition of music that can make you feel, and everything else in between. A truly unique night that most definitely won't be forgot in a hurry. 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.