Writer Mirab Kay / Photographer Ewan Williamson
“We love you Skye!” bellows the crowd during the first few minutes of her set, a reflection of the familiarity and connection that buzzes throughout The Night Owl. The seven-piece band begins the set strongly and we are quickly hypnotised by the groove.
Soul Sessions promises us some of Brum’s top soul talent and this band does not disappoint. Morrissey expertly leads Jay Emery (Bass), Joe Anderson (Guitar), Charlie Henry (Guitar), Josh Holliday (Drums), Ollie Newbury (Keys) and Tommy Lawther (Sax) through the beginning songs, setting the tone for a soulful and sassy setlist.
The first half of the set treats us to four fantastically interpreted soul covers, undoubtedly chosen to show off the band’s versatility, and in particular Morrissey’s confident, well-supported vocals. An all-star, all-inclusive range of artists populate the setlist including Olivia Dean and Kiana Ledé giving a dedicated nod to soul’s black roots.
One thing that strikes me about Morrissey’s vocals is how powerful and sustained they are. She has no problem projecting above the rest of the band using cry and glottal techniques, then easily transitions to a pretty and light tone during the softer songs – the mark of a well-trained vocalist.
Despite such a large ensemble, Morrissey’s vocals remain the focus and earn the attention of everyone in the room. This level of discipline in such young performers is refreshing, shown most effectively in their ability to stay tight and seamlessly glide through any hiccups.
I find myself particularly enthralled by the talented saxophonist Tommy Lawther who shares a perfectly in unison solo with guitarist Joe Anderson in the final songs – ‘Sir Duke’ and ‘I With’ (Stevie Wonder).
The band are noticeably pleased as they give each other confident smiles urging the crowd to cheer.
This theme of confidence runs throughout the set, all band members travel effortlessly through any difficult runs, transitions and interactions. All have equal opportunity to show off their skills whilst maintaining an impressive presence on stage and interacting with the audience.
Doubtless, Morrissey and the rest of the band have earnt themselves many new fans including myself, all of whom are excited to witness what’s up next for the 19 year old currently studying music at Bimm Birmingham.
For more from Skye Morrissey take a look at their instagram: www.instagram.com/skyemorrissey
For more from The Night Owl go to their website: www.birmingham.thenightowl.club