The Edge is tucked away on Cheapside, arguably one of the less inviting corners of Digbeth. On entry, however, it’s decked out like a disco in a greenhouse.
The space is awash with green lights and spacey projections, and houseplants occupy every corner. The stage is draped with vines and tinsel, and the DJ is playing a laid-back mix of ambient, jazzy electronica. It could be this reviewer’s imagination, but the room even seems to smell like a garden – although that may be the cocktail bar in the corner, where cucumber margaritas and beetroot G&T’s are being garnished with violets and sprigs of rosemary.
The venue is quite full, so experimental theatre group L Y N N E B E C manage to weave themselves into the crowd without anyone really noticing. However, the four performers soon make their presence known, launching into a performance that quickly has the talkative crowd hushed and watching.
Full of acrobatic lifts and captivating freestyle, L Y N N E B E C’s dance performance is devised to a mix of electronic music put together by Rosie Tee herself. Tracks from the likes of Natureboy Flako and Photay are threaded together with snippets of Tee’s new EP, Chambers. By the end of the performance the dancefloor is scatted with leaves and petals that have fallen from the performer’s costumes during the piece – each dancer is pulling members of the crowd out to dance with them, most of whom are more than happy to oblige. As well as an endearing end to the display, it’s a great way to break down the ‘inevitable semi-circle’ that crowds tend to form around the front of the stage, just in time for Tee’s set.
Rosie Tee and her band make themselves at home on the stage, bathed in the psychedelic projections. It’s the eve of the release Chambers and a stack of copies are already on the merch table. There’s an air of anticipation in the audience, from the crowd stood at the front to the people occupying the tired armchairs and Chesterfields dotted around the space. Within minutes of the band beginning, Tee has the room under her spell.
‘Wax & Wane’ is one of the first tracks from Chambers to make an appearance. Tee’s swaying vocal carries the song, gently conducting the rest of the band with the odd flick of the wrist. Skittering jazz drums from Kai Chareunsy and wobbling bass from Dan Cippico are a sturdy foundation for the glittering keys of Tom Harris, not to mention the ringing punctuation of Tee’s glockenspiel, which she stands poised over like a sequined automaton.
Tee is every bit a host as well as a performer. Between her jazz-pop compositions she shares insights into her writing process, introduces the band – proudly announcing that Cippicolay produced the new EP – and takes the time to thank everyone involved, from the sound team to the bar staff.
New songs ‘Watersong’ and ‘Siren’ close the set just as they close the new EP. The former sees Tee scat singing through a grin, while the shivering rhythm of the latter draws the performance to an uptempo close. Rosie Tee and her ensemble take a bow, but it’s only a few minutes before Harris and Chareunsy are back on stage with their own band, Trampette – who keep the room dancing with high energy grooves late into the night.
Rosie Tee – launch of Chambers EP @ The Edge 28.03.19 / Jessica H IngramGallery not found.
For more on Rosie Tee, visit www.rosietee.uk
For more on L Y N N E B E C, visit www.facebook.com/lynnebec
For more on Trampette, visit www.facebook.com/trampetteband
For more from Friction Arts and The Edge, visit www.frictionarts.com
NOT NORMAL – NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this feature – or if you want to report an act of sexual aggression, abuse, or assault – click here for information via the ‘Help & Support’ page on the NOT NORMAL – NOT OK website.