Writer Mirab Kay / Photographer Connor Pope
Soul Sessions, I’m back. On the evening of Wednesday 12 October, after a long day at Uni I am ready for my bed. So, I am praying to the universe for an exciting event at The Night Owl.
Speaking to those of you who have visited the female loos in The Night Owl, I hope I am not the only one with trouble deciding which closed door is the exit. Thankfully, a kind young woman comes to my rescue and shows me the way out. Unbeknown to me, this helpful girl is in fact the soulful goddess, Olivia Wilkes, who occupies this Soul Sessions lineup’s ‘Guest Spot’.
If you couldn’t tell, Wilkes also ends up being my favourite musician of the evening.
Once I am past the surprise of bumping into Wilkes, I am struck by the vocal discipline of this acoustic guitarist/singer. The emotion in her voice is up there with the most experienced of vocalists and I can tell that when she sings she is entirely in her own world.
‘Ain’t no Sunshine’ by Bill Withers, ‘Skinny Love’ by Bon Iver, and ‘Addicted to You’ by Avicii make up her short set but all three are clearly handpicked to create a tender and bittersweet show.
My biggest regrets for this set are that it hasn’t lasted longer and that there aren’t more people around to witness it.
Next up, is a band perhaps for the more mature crowd – The Woebeatides. Their set is very loud and very heavy so seems a little out of place at Soul Sessions, however their experience and showmanship certainly shows through in how tight and confident they are as a three-piece band.
I am vibing with the bassist all the way through their original ‘Hellraiser’ which was “written in 20 minutes on the 55 bus”, and especially through the monster bassline in ‘I spy a lie’.
This band is afforded two encores after already having played six songs; even if I think this is too many, the audience is on their feet, screaming along to each and every lyric.
Gaby Kettle and her four accompanying musicians are on now and immediately we are taken away to a jazzy, funky land where sitting down and not singing along are illegal. Not only is Kettle a talented vocalist whose powerful voice demands the respect of the band, she is also hilarious and has witty and comforting chats with the audience.
All six of her songs are originals and they all have some pretty complex aspects like the mirroring between bass and vocals in the third song, and the various guitar and keys solos.
The set ends with a somewhat improvised cover of ‘No Diggity’ by Blackstreet featuring Dr. Dre and Queen Pen, which sends the crowd wild – everyone is singing and dancing along; it seems no one wants it to end.
Afterwards, Collective Sleep comes to the stage and performs a set entirely made up of originals. Every one of them is skillfully played and sung in its own right. However, I begin to notice certain chord and melody patterns coming up in each song which make them sound a little too similar.
The singer’s cry tone fits nicely over the guitar tones because it stands out, although I can’t help feeling like it becomes a little too much for too long – if he were to allow his deeper register to show through, he may be able to maintain control over his riffing and create a warmer, rounder tone.
Regardless, all the songs are extremely popular with the audience and a growing number of dancers emerge before the stage.
Although I didn’t get to see The Repercussions because of the trains, their YouTube channel is definitely worth a visit – link below.
For more music from Gaby Kettle go to Gaby Kettle – Spotify
For more from Collective Sleep visit www.linktr.ee/collectivesleep
For more from The Repercussions got to www.youtube.com/channel
For more from Olivia Wilkes go to @livviewilkes on Instagram
For more from The Woebeatides go to @thewoebeatides on Instagram