*Ed’s note… due to some appalling diary manoeuvres on my part, our post-gig Ed Geater content is woefully late. Apologies to all involved, on stage and off. But if you want to check Ed Geater out live he’ll be performing with Call Me Unique on Friday 5th May – as part of her Urban Gypsy II EP launch party at Mama Roux’s. For direct gig info, click here.
Ed Geater produced Call Me Unique’s latest release; to read our Birmingham Review of ‘Shoulda’, the debut single from Urban Gypsy II, click here.
Ed Geater will also be performing at mac for the first time on June 2nd, joined by Lady Sanity and Andrew Souter. For direct gig info, including full venue details and online ticket sales, click here. Ed Geater and Lady Sanity release ‘Found a Place’ on 16th June, click here for direct news and online orders.
Words by Damien Russell / Pics by Rob Hadley
With a background in rock and blues, I walk into the Hare and Hounds on Friday night with little to no idea what to expect. I’ve read a few bits about Ed Geater, and having been about a bit I’ve seen singer/songwriters with loop pedals before and even the odd beatboxer. That said it’s still a rare thing to see anyone using a loop pedal, singing, playing guitar and beatboxing all at once. Definitely intriguing.
I head upstairs to the soft strains of Amy Louise Ellis, a gentle welcome to the venue. Walking in there’s a reasonable sized crowd, listening intently, quietly and they kindly part ways to let me and my friend get to the bar. Ellis (and her guitarist) has a soft breathy voice that reminds me in some way of the theatre; something about the tone, I think, and the way she applies her range. She moves through her set in a slightly shy, understated way and leaves to a strong applause.
After a short break, we are treated to a set from Dee Ajayi; a dynamic performer. Ajayi (and her guitarist, albeit no relation to the previous one) has a presence and smile that you can’t help but smile back at, performing with animation and enthusiasm. She touches on Soul, R‘n’B, Funk and treats us to the odd story of a past breakup, an unrequited love, and memories of her father. These glimpses into the personal moments that have inspired her music makes me feel we, as an audience, are being given a intimate peek into the life of Dee Ajayi.
(Side-tracking slightly, about halfway through Dee Ajayi’s performance a large group of people come in to the Hare and Hounds’ Venue 2 and make a racket an elephant would be proud of, yacking away and shouting bar orders. From this point on significant numbers of people were talking and generally being inconsiderate; all the performers did admirably to ignore them and put on the show they did. Kudos to those on stage. Taking inspiration from Dee Ajayi, I try to ignore them too.)
The next act on tonight, and final support, is Bear – another duo, but this time guitarist and beatboxer Gordon Begard and singer/rapper, Faye Smith. Standing at the back of the room as Bear start their set, I have no idea where all of the sounds are coming from. I’m sure there are only two of them on stage, but I could swear there was a whole band up there. Bear perform with great energy and make an impressive sound, performing with skill, passion and a whole lot of power. As they close their set, a bigger and more hyped up audience see them off with another strong reception.
Our headliner takes the stage now, and I’m reminded that I still don’t know what to expect from Ed Geater. I’ve seen soft acoustic, funky soulful acoustic, heavy rap/hip hop acoustic… tonight could be leading up to just about anything.
As Ed Geater begins to play, a flood of influences run through my mind; all massive names. I can hear Massive Attack in the chilled out trippy vibe and steady pace. That leads me to thinking about Newton Faulkner, which I hear in the flowing intricate guitar work (fantastic guitar work, I was very jealous). Then I start thinking about vocals and how there’s a little bit of Passenger in there, alongside some more mainstream sounds. All in all the mix is a deep, rich harmony that’s a little mesmeric, wrapping itself around you like a warm blanket.
The songs start in the way that a lot of performers using loop effects songs start, and there is a bit of time ‘building’ before we really get into it. But from there Geater shows he’s at the top of his game as everything flows smoothly from section to section, making, as with Bear, a sound that far outweighs the rather understated figure on stage.
You can tell it’s a hometown show as Ed Geater gets his brother, Charlie, to join him on backing vocals for a song. There are a few other guest spots throughout his set including a collaboration with Lady Sanity, with each new sound on stage complimenting the often solo performer; it makes me wonder what Ed Geater would be like with a full group behind him. Geater’s sound is well developed and his songs are strong, but with the limits of the technology he’s using you could fall into traps at the start and end of each song, in turn losing some of the impact they bring.
But for tonight, with the set highlights for me coming in the form of ‘Gracia’ and ‘Symmetry’, I don’t feel like any of us in this Hare and Hounds crowd could ask for a better Friday night vibe.
For more on Ed Geater, visit www.edgeater.co.uk
For more on Amy Louise Ellis, visit www.facebook.com/AmyLouiseElliis
For more on Dee Ajayi, visit www.soundcloud.com/dee_ajayi
For more on Bear, visit www.soundcloud.com/fayesound
For more from the Hare & Hounds (Kings Heath), including a full events programme and online ticket sales, visit www.hareandhoundskingsheath.co.uk
For more from Birmingham Promoters, visit www.birminghampromoters.com