LIVE: Izzy Bizu (Koko, London, 14/9/16)

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Izzy Bizu, Koko, London 14/9/16 (c) Sync

It’s always with a slight sense of trepidation that we go to see for the first time live an artist that we’ve been fans of for a while. Will they live up to expectations? Can they really cut it on a big-scale headline show? Well, we need not have worried about this one. South-Londoner Izzy Bizu gave a dazzling performance that reassured that the hype surrounding her has plenty of foundation.

Whilst hers is not yet a household name, plenty of her music will be familiar to many, not least from her vocals on the intro theme for the BBC’s Euro 2016 coverage – an uptempo take on Edith Piaf‘s La Foule – but this gig introduced those who had not yet had a chance to hear it to most of the tracks on her recently-released debut album A Moment of Madness.

Some key highlights included big singles Mad Behaviour and White Tiger, as well as an absolutely sublime pared-back performance of Someone Who Loves You, for which Bizu was joined on stage by electronic duo Honne.

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Izzy Bizu, Koko, London 14/9/16 (c) Sync

Her live band left the stage for that one track, but for the rest of the show they were by her side and were as impressive as Bizu. Her music style takes in all manner of jazz and soulful fusions and the musicians and backing vocalists met the task with style and swagger.

What she lacked in assurance at the very beginning of the night – Bizu was clearly (and understandably) initially nervous in front of a sold-out crowd at what is one of London’s most visually stunning venues with its multi-level balconies towering high above the stage – she more than made up for as she settled into proceedings.

In the end, it was clear she was enjoying herself, although not nearly as much as her fans who lapped up everything she did. It was an exquisite vocal performance from a charming and unassuming young singer who has all the attributes to be doing her thing for many, many years to come.

Ronika – Stay Here Forever

London-based emerging singer and songwriter Ronika has released new song Stay Here Forever.

A follow-up to last year’s Step To My Beat, the new song will appear on her second album which is due for release towards the end of this year or early 2017. The tune has a wonderfully 80’s edge and it seriously brightens up our Monday. Hope it does the same for you too.

 

Ronika – Stay Here Forever

Fictionist – Free Spirit

Here’s one we’ve been listening to for a while now. Free Spirit is the title track from a new EP from US band Fictionist. Creative, upbeat, quirky pop is their thing, all wrapped up in a really well-crafted package.

This four-piece are equally strong as songwriters as they are musicians. Their unique sound features two lead-vocalists, Stuart Maxfield and Robert Connolly, who trade leads and creative counterpunches throughout the EP. Drummer Aaron Anderson and guitarist/bassist Brandon Kitterman round out the rhythm section with driving beats that blend well alongside the guitar and vocal elements.

The music video for the single shows the band messing around on the set of a seemingly epic film, where the director chooses to answer phone calls from his famous friends (Adam Levine, Bruce Springsteen, etc.) instead of listening to band’s requests.

Fictionist – Free Spirit

Janessa Evrist – Play High Stakes

Heartfelt, stripped-down piano and melodic vocals are the hallmark of LA-based songwriter and indie-pop singer Janessa Evrist. Her new song Play High Stakes is a little more souped-up than that though, with a super-catchy chorus, soft and smooth vocals, and just the right level of added production to keep things moving along nicely.

It’s one that we’ve been coming back to for more listens since we first heard it, so we’ve added it to our latest Sync List to share it with a wider audience. Hopefully, we’ll be hearing plenty more to come from Evrist in the near future.

Janessa Evrist – Play High Stakes

Frank Hamilton – Saturday Night

Anyone who knows and loves Frank Hamilton‘s particular brand of quirky and inventive songs might be panicking at the momentary suggestion from the headline above that he had decided to do a cover of Whigfield’s 1993 pop hit but thankfully, this is something altogether different.

Saturday Night is the second single from Hamilton’s forthcoming album Songs to Make Life Slightly Less Awkward (out 30 September) and it has instant appeal from the upbeat indie-pop sound to the lively accompanying video, filmed just last weekend on the first night of the all-night London Underground service.

The video tells the story of a journey home from a night out on the town. “The whole thing fascinates me,” he says. “People are weird enough without alcohol, loud music and a roomful of sexual tension. I love getting messy as much as the next person, but I often wonder what aliens would think if they landed on Clapham High Street at midnight on a Saturday.”

See our recent interview with Frank Hamilton, and catch the man himself live towards the end of the year when he hits the road for dates in London (12 December), Bristol (15), and Manchester (16).

Frank Hamilton – Saturday Night

 

Everything Everything – I Believe It Now

Manchester-based band Everything Everything have just wrapped up an intense season of festival appearances (and a headline show at Somerset House which we snapped) and are about to disappear off into the studio to work on album number four, but their parting gift for now is standalone track I Believe It Now.

Used by BT Sport as the theme to its coverage of Premier League football this season, the track has already caught a bit of attention over the past couple of weeks but is now available to stream on Spotify and download from the usual digital music emporiums.

Everything Everything – I Believe It Now

 

Baby Queens – Tired of Love

Tired of Love is the first single from the upcoming album from Cardiff all-female five-piece Baby Queens. Slick and soulful, the track sounds fresh but with a nod to some of the retro best of RnB and pop.

The group had success with 2013 single Red Light. Since then, the girls have been releasing a number of tracks, readying their debut album and cutting their teeth on the live circuit, playing festivals such as The Great Escape, Boomtown, T in the Park, X Fest, and Swn Festival.

Tired of Love is out on 9 September, with the self-titled debut album slated for release on 28 October.

Baby Queens – Tired of Love

Nakita – Second Chances

New Zealand singer-songwriter Nakita Turner – performing just as Nakita though… who needs a surname anyway?! – released her new single earlier this month, the second track from her EP Foolish Ones. Second Chances has a cool, laid-back vibe, and the 17-year-old singer’s voice adds a smooth-as-silk tone that would not unreasonably draw comparisons with her fellow NZ star Lorde.

She has the potential to establish herself in her own right though, and we look forward to more from this emerging talent.

Nakita – Second Chances

The New Coast – Slow Down

The New Coast – East London duo Nick Blyth and Chris Cheater – have released their new song Slow Down. The band’s sound is all-encompassing and atmospheric, with a rich multi-layered effect that becomes that comes into clearer focus after a couple of listens.

The track is taken from their forthcoming EP Paraga Beach which is due for release on 4 November.

The New Coast – Slow Down

Lightscape – Running

Pop-rock quintet Lightscape have released the video for their new single Running, taken from their forthcoming EP For Present, For Past.

The Norfolk-based band filmed the video at the Hippodrome Circus in Great Yarmouth with director Ryan Lovejoy. Guitarist Sam Nichol said: “We’re incredibly proud of our first video. It took two days to film while we experimented with different lights/ filming positions.

“The room was circular, so there’s so much to play with. Most of all we just had fun jumping about and doing what we do best, whilst trying to make something visually appealing enough to do justice to the audio.”

The forthcoming self-released mini-EP from which the track is taken is released on 2 September, ahead of a live date for the band on 17 September at London’s 229 Venue.

Lightscape – Running