Liv Austen, The Velveteen Orkestra, Hoshino & Anna Winkin

November 30, 2017
Discovery at 229 The Venue, London

“Obviously love is the most important”
Anna Winkin began the event with a short set of empowering songs. The lyric “you don’t see what we see in you” was backed with gentle cymbals. Wilkin was backed by pair of expressive singers, Nina and Lisa.

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Space for Love had a whispered beauty. Sweet Melody was self-explanatory, although she let rip vocally once it kicked in for the middle eight. Wilkin finished with Send Me A Sign, showcasing her radio friendly voice and positive messages of love, respect and compassion.

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Anna Winkin’s EP, Space For Love, is out now. Take a listen at annawinkin.com

“It’s great to see so many people in here. And a Liv Austen t-shirt too! What more can you ask for?”
Well, how about world peace and a full length Liv Austen album (not necessarily in that order)? Thinking of goals that are more achievable in half an hour, she compromised on a tight, professional performance just as suited to an arena or festival stage as a little-known subterranean venue.

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You may know Liv Austen from such songwriters rounds as Two Ways Home’s The Round Up, a round at The Slaughtered Lamb with country pop and Americana’s favourite co-writer, Jeff Cohen, or a Troubadour triple-header with Megan O’Neill and Kaity Rae (probably not that one, it was criminally under attended). If you’ve seen her there or elsewhere, you’d know she has a flawless voice. In a full band setting, Liv Austen is a superstar in the making, with all the moves and vocal range to match.

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By design, the night was a mixed bag genre-wise with various types of rock, pop and soul on offer. Austen was the first to admit where she stood on the spectrum: “we’re gonna get a little country up in here.”

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Sticking to the genre’s tropes – “you gotta have a cheating song” – Part-Time Sweetheart was pure country pop. Miss Nobody could easily be a Carrie Underwood track with all its sass and biting turns of phrase.

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Whether it’s the controlled head voice of Same Story or the sweet vulnerability of Whole Heart, Austen’s songs seemed instantly memorable. The full band arrangement really supercharged the more upbeat songs like Don’t Regret A Single One.

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It was unclear if Liv was joking when she said “we’ve come to the blame everything on the ex-boyfriend part of the set” (**coughcough that’s what all the songs were about coughcough**). She must have been joking when she strapped on the electro-acoustic and talked about pretending she plays guitar, because she had the moves there too.

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Maybe she just meant in comparison to Jon Wright who accompanied her on the songwriters rounds and was integral to this performance as well.

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Liv Austen’s next show is at The Bedford in London on January 26. Head over to livausten.com to buy tickets.

“We looked over our setlist and it does look like a collection of horror B-movies”
The venue had filled up by the time The Velveteen Orkestra took to the stage and it soon became clear why. They had frenetic, flamboyant, gypsy folk style reminiscent of Holy Moly & The Crackers, but with darker undertones.

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It’s no wonder that they had earned a dedicated fan base more than ready to sing and dance along to songs like London By Lamplight. The band was tight and energetic.

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Singer Dan Shears’ idiosyncratic banter between songs was memorable too: “You’ve been lovely. I’m sure you wanna sleep with one of us. There’s a wipe clean sofa backstage.” The band had the crowd laughing and dancing from the first note to the last.

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Check out danshearsmusic.com for updates on the progress of their crowdfunded debut album, Shadow & Whimsy.

“This is normally the part where we offer everyone to have sex with us but the last band beat us to it”
Hoshino had obviously watched The Velveteen Orkestra’s set. It’s a shame that not too many of the fans stuck around to return the favour as the crowd was a little thinned out by the time they stepped up. The music was an interesting combination of mellow and relentless, with chilled out vocals, rap influences, guitar licks and samples.

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You can find out more about Hoshino and their sound on Bandcamp.

Discovery 2 showcases will return in 2018 – keep an eye on discovery-talent.co.uk for full details.

Like what you see? There are more photos of the show over on Flickr. Please follow me there, and here:

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Want more photos? Try my travel, nature and street photography website, Out To The Streets!

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