Photo Credit: Tashi Hall Photography/@tashihall
The balmy spring night made the cool underground of The Sewing Room the perfect choice for the long-awaited single release from Michael Day, with his latest alt-folk tune, 'Storm'. The crowd’s anticipation for the big wooden doors to swing open, was a testament to the musical chops of Michael and his band. The Cecilia Brandolini Trio and Lucas Jones were the two choice support acts for the night.
Piloting her keyboard, Cecilia began with stunning harmonies and flowing strings, accompanied by her celloist and viola player. Cecilia’s impressive tone and vibrato makes one think of Meg Mac crossed with Nika Mo. At one point you would have thought she was scatting if it were not for the perfectly matched melody on the keys.
Lucas Jones and his band were up next. Lucas’s skill on his acoustic was accompanied by the melodies of his beautiful Corby-like voice. Some melodies made you think of mid-2000’s pop-rock, in the best way possible. The performance was so together, with distinct use of dynamics, gentle break downs and swelling builds that took your heart along for the ride, inducing spine-tingling moments on multiple occasions.
As Michael and his band set up, it became abundantly clear who everyone was there to see. Michael and his band launched straight into his most recent single, 'Guildford'. From that moment, Michael had the crowd in his hands for the rest of the night. Michael’s voice can best be described as strength with control, there is no hesitation when hitting high notes, no wobbles when singing gently, just pitch-perfect control and clarity.
Some old favourite tunes from Michael followed the joyful start to the set. These tunes taught us that Michael’s writing ability isn’t limited to one style, Ben (electric guitar) also plays some gnarly banjo and Grace (BV’s) has a huge voice! The between-song banter couldn’t be left unmentioned with Michael talking about anything from his wife to societies inability to confront conflict. Then came the song of the night, 'Storm'. Starting with sort of cosmic sounding long-held notes from the guitars, the song builds with help from acoustic and drums. Before you know it, Michael’s brooding tone has turned into full-force, upper octave (perfectly controlled) belting as the chorus hits you like a train. Huge long-held notes from Grace soar over a wall of music to the delight of the crowd, before the song comes to an end.
Finishing on another old favourite, 'In the Dark Part 3', the crowd is clearly not done with chants for one more song. Ending on a heartwarming, smile-inducing (and somewhat improvised) cover of 'Mango Tree' by Angus and Julia Stone, Michael’s musical diversity was on display till the last moments of the gig. After a truly stella evening, it’s safe to say that Michael and his band are undoubtedly ones to watch in the coming years.
Reviewer – John Igglesden