Sunday, December 10, 2023

Marika Hackman + Charlotte Carpenter + Emma Crowder + Cannon Street, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham 16/03/14

Marika Hackman
What better way to ease in a new working week, than to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday evening in the company of some the brightest female singer-songwriters in the local area?

Cannon Street
First up are Cannon Street consisting of sisters Nadi and Rukaiyah Qazi. With dreamy harmonies they bewitch the crowd and hold everyone completely under their spell.

Emma Crowder
Next up is Emma Crowder. A strong vocal vibrato gives her songs a powerful pop sensibility. She muses sweetly asking the crowd to move closer to the stage, before launching into a cover of ‘Summertime’. Her vibrato again impresses and sounds almost classical, as if she could be right at home singing arias as well as acoustic ditties.

Charlotte Carpenter
Charlotte Carpenter’s songs are more like dialogues with her audience rather than mere performances. She conveys a real sense of honesty in her story-telling and has something of a 60’s free-spirited idealism to her nature. Drawing on traditional folk styles she manages to bring something fresh and innovative to the table. Her use of electric guitar is more that just ornamental flora, it is purposeful and gives the songs a new and unexpected dimension. She is also a very measured performer, with her vocal and guitar playing never outshining one another. On ‘Let It Go’, you can hear with perfect clarity every word of the lyrics, whilst the resentment of being reliant on money in ‘Take It All’ is ably represented by the angsty guitar. She is a refreshing talent in a genre that can easily get bogged down by cliché and monotony.

Marika Hackman
Compared to the previous acts, Marika Hackman’s set with accompanying keyboards and drums is a full scale production. It seems less about the intimate and reflective moments and more about a quirky sense of fun. On opener ‘Bath is Black’, the chirping keyboards put the song somewhere between Of Monsters and Men and Metronomy, while ‘Mountain Spines’ has a grungy guitar intro lifted straight from Nirvana’s “Come As You Are”. There is a peppering of dramatic bass drum in her songs and an indelible psychedelic hue to her music, which could come from the Syd Barrett book of song writing. A cover of Joanna Newsom’s ‘18’ is sung with purity, before the band leave the stage for the ex-Burberry model to play some solo offerings, which include songs about death (‘Here I Lie’) and falling from grace (‘Retina Television’), revealing an altogether much darker side to her psyche.
When the band return they hand her a shot which she wilfully knocks back, heralding the start of a new band tradition, before playing ‘Itchy Teeth’. Her latest single, ‘Deep Green’ is a far cry from the light and airy opener, with Esben and the Witch style wailings. ‘Wolf’ is the best song of the night, which marries cascading keyboards, with soft floating vocals and the ever-present bass drum.
Photographs by Paul Reynolds.