At the end of July we attended the industry evening of the ACM Summer Live events.
This is a series of concerts held in Guildford, Surrey — this year at the Electric Theatre — which lasted four days (with live performances) and had more than 60 new acts.
This year, this event was organized in collaboration with Eagle 3 [Surrey and Hampshire] and benefited MUSIC SUPPORT — the charity that provides help and support for individuals in the United Kingdom Music Industry who suffer from alcoholism, addiction or emotional or mental health problems.
The acts were introduced by Eagle 3 Radio presenter Jack Johnson.
First on stage were the Guildford multi-cultural five-piece MARDHYS whose dreamer and chief song-writer Melatti Braam led the experimental folk collective.
Songs such as “Old John” (an anti-bullying number) had scratched rhythms, sparkling vowels and violin wings that punctured troubled veils of harmony. Think of the British art rock band Moulettes playing Dylan songs to Tusk-era Fleetwood Mac beats to get an idea.
The four-piece CHINA BEARS from Guildford (they seem to have mislaid Rosie along the way) provided self-assertive bass-lines and gushing anthems.
“Hyrda” had seacoast-scented brio with nostalgic melodies and suggestively blusterous vibrations. Ths band reminded us of Ohio indie rockers The National.
Guildford based alternative indie rock band NEON ISLANDS brought dauntless tropical bass-lines together with lots of guitar fizz to make deliver some delirious rhythms and coquettish melodies.
Carlos de los Santos provided voice and more fabulous strut than was absolutely necessary, while Jamie Hayes on bass guitar was manifestly spectacular and Nico Narbona (keys) offered a silken atmosphere. Rhythms were expertly biffed out by Sam Lawson on drums. Their runaway charm and rampant ego was perhaps more significant than the total sum of their parts, but we we loved these brazen lads anyhow…
London urban pop artist and singer-songwriter CHINCHILLA [Daisy Bertenshaw] studied at the ACM Metropolis Studios academy campus in Chiswick and has a mezzo-soprano range as she raps in euphonious cockney salvos. At Summer Live her rap-songs brought to mind the image of Ms. Dynamite meeting Lily Allen in an Archway launderette to criticize men and groan about the crappy weather. Last year’s wordy and crumbly “Playing With Fire” was a powerful hymn to pain and salvation. She’s undoubtedly a rising star and one to watch…
As is NABSORA (Brian Alejandro) — the rapper and producer originally from Colombia who is now based in London. He brought us a bam of interwoven social commentary propelled through poetry and hip-hop. His message relied on peace, love and understanding rather than acts of rebellion. As a poet he’s exceptional. As a rapping-lyricist he’s outstanding. His “Proud” had thoughtful ridges of sound and was a scholarly crisis of contemplation set amongst vast expanses of forgiveness. The vocal work was red-hot and express-rate yet completely approachable with ritzy rhymes and honeyed-hot songcraft.
Danish alternative electro-pop artist AIA created wondrous ear-soda with an unusual yet healthy propriety in all her lyrics. She took inter-twirling rhythms and added wordplay for drama and intrigue. She proved to be a fine tunesmith and a spellbinding artist. (She reminded us of American synth-pop artist Halsey )
Also at the ACM Summer Live concert on Thursday were the Southampton based punchy electronic duo UHURU consisting of singer/songwriter & producer Connor Daniel with Rob Jones on guitar and keys. And soul and gospel singer JULY JONES with the equally distinctive indie-pop troupe THIS ROSE.
It was an impressive evening of miscellany, revelation and five-star aptitude.
The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) is a music academy in Guildford, Surrey [with sites in London and Birmingham] that offers full-time courses for guitar, bass, drums, vocals, keyboards, music production, artist development & songwriting, radio broadcasting, creative sound design, tour production & management and music business.