Writer Mirab Kay / Photographer Krish Thakur
The audience are dancing and screaming – before Leah has even introduced herself.
As soon as I enter the event room at Muthers on this sweaty evening in July, I am taken aback by the chemistry between Leah Wlcx and her fans as she opens the set with a cover. Immediately, I notice the juxtaposition between Leah’s sweet style and the strength and impact of an incredibly skilled vocalist.
These two factors form a rich, soulful tone, reminiscent of the most emotional types of country. This tone is again adopted in the next song ‘Slip Away’ as it’s currently known, or as her friends familiarly refer to it ‘The Train Song’, which we are told “has nothing to do with trains”.
The third song is another cover which provides a nice, danceable pulse due to the fact that it is in three-time. Leah and her backing vocalist/bassist, Ellie Grice, show off some well-placed harmonies in the chorus which are followed by a tasteful selection of riffs and runs.
Next is ‘When We Were Kids’ – Leah’s first song released on Spotify. She chuckles when the audience get out their flashlights and wave them in the air, but this is admittedly appropriate for the intimate, fully acoustic track. I have no hesitation in saying that this song is gorgeous, dreamy, and well worth a listen.
‘Duvet’ by Bôa provides the band with an opportunity to showcase how strong they are in communicating with each other. This communication is tested when a guest vocalist comes on stage for ‘Dreams’ by Fleetwood Mac, though she seems at home performing with the band, smiling, dancing, and even executing a substantial a capella outro in which the audience is hit with a wall of harmonies as all three vocalists combine their rock chops.
The guest says goodbye and we ready ourselves for a downtempo, moody track called ‘Undergrown’. Leah tells us the song is about “how I felt when I first started music” but what strikes me about the transitions between covers and originals is that there is little to determine which is which – her compositions have been written with skill and professionalism, they fit between well known songs with ease.
I enjoy the breakdown in the bridge which is heavily aided by talented drummer Toby Scott-Wilson, and I sincerely hope this sassy drop to halftime becomes a hallmark of Leah’s sound when her music gains momentum.
Her last original of the night is about how “men are a bit bad”, so I join the women in the audience in laughing and shooting accusing looks at our male friends and partners. Before long I realise that this song was written while I sat in a studio with Leah a year ago, and I am touched the song has stayed mostly the same with a few extra embellishments.
She belts in her chest voice and effortlessly maintains this power when she shifts to her head voice – a smooth, pure held note bounces into acrobatic riffs during some ad lib sections which amaze the audience, and I am excited to add the song to my playlist.
The final song is ‘Run’ by Joji during which guitarist Joe Calverly is afforded an impressive solo.
Naturally, we ask for an encore and are treated to ‘Tongue Tied’ by Grouplove – a warm, fun, cheerful song to accompany our final boogie.
For more at Muthers Studio go to www.muthersstudio.co.uk