The Golden Hour
Having previously delivered the delights of ‘What Party?’, it was clearly time to check out 4-piece indie pop outfit Gold Baby in a live setting. Luckily, the band had staged a launch party for their latest offering ‘Maggots’ (see our review previously) at The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington in December along with some guests.
The schedule was running a little behind on the day and one of the support acts (Oh Joy) was unable to make it on the night. But to make up for it, the south London-based Hussy delivered an energetic set.
Sophie Nicole Ellison is a multi-instrument artist who also records all her material in her own home studio under the moniker of Hussy. Accompanied on stage by a second guitarist, bassist and drums, Ellison offered up a set of songs that offered shimmering guitars and some nice harmonics on some of the vocals. Despite breaking a string on her guitar during the set, Ellison keeps ploughing forward and the general consensus from the crowd at the end is that Hussy have done a good turn.
By now, there’s more people filing into the venue and there’s a nice vibe building up. It’s the perfect atmosphere to greet Gold Baby as they step onto the stage. Consisting of Siân Alex (vocals, guitar), Sam Asbury (guitar, backing vocals), Andrew Myors (bass) and Ian Lee (drums), Gold Baby swiftly demonstrate a polished approach to their style of indie rock.
Opening song ‘Feed It’ has a particular energy to it with a strong vocal delivery. There’s a more punchy approach to ‘Laugh Alone’ with more dominant percussion. Sam Asbury adds some gauzy guitar work on a number that zips back and forth between frenetic energy and a more restrained delivery.
The chemistry between the disparate elements of Gold Baby is quickly established on these early numbers. A perfect time then to drop in previous single ‘What Party?’. Here, the song has a nervous energy to it which is punctuated by the downbeat humour that Siân Alex deploys in the lyrics (“I miss my friends /I haven’t got any”) and Sam Asbury’s dour backing vocals. As discussed in our review of the song at the time, it’s a tune that comes to life from its layered guitar elements, while still retaining a raw appeal.
“This next song is a dancing one” announces Alex as the dynamic melodies of ‘Lemonade’ blister forth. It’s a powerful, driving affair that immediately gets the audience bopping away and it’s clear that this belter is one of the evening’s finest moments.
Alex puts her guitar down for ‘500/1’ which features more of that Tanya Donelly-style vocal we discussed previously. It also weaves in some truly manic percussion from Ian Lee, so-much-so that he almost does himself an injury (“I hit myself in the face!”).
The set leads out with the single of the moment. Live, ‘Maggots’ has a breezy sensibility to it while still retaining an urgent guitar-driven quality. Once again, the lyrics offer up some quirky wit into the mix with a laconic air from Alex (“You thought seeing things and learning things would help you along the way/But you’re not a woman, you’re a car”).
But the crowd aren’t satisfied with the evening ending there and begin chanting for “One more tune!”. Flattered by the attention, the band oblige with an encore. “The lyrics in this song are rather ironic”, offers Alex for a song entitled ‘Taylor Swift’ (a fitting title for a band that describe their sound being similar to “Kim Deal accidentally spending a night backstage at a Taylor Swift show”). It’s a euphoric tune that seems to work its magic on the audience, all of whom seem to be in agreement that Gold Baby have done a sterling performance this evening.
There’s a lot of talk about the decline of live music venues of late. That’s also matched by discussions about the decline of fresh, dynamic music – particularly relevant given the number of cover bands or pub rock outfits treading the boards. But witnessing bands such as Gold Baby in intriguing small venues such as The Waiting Room suggests that things aren’t as grim as they seem.
Gold Baby have some solid tunes in their musical arsenal. But there’s also an attention to self-deprecating humour weaved into the lyrics, particularly when you pay attention to tunes such as ‘What Party?’ (“Oh I need someone, no no not you…”). Check them out online or live and you’re not likely to be disappointed.
He is responsible for design outfit Arc23 as well as writing for outlets such as J-Pop Go, Electronic Sound, All The Anime, Manga Entertainment and The Electricity Club.
He has been featured in a variety of press and media features including the Metro and Japan Update Weekly.