Monday nights usually consist of reheating the remains of the previous days roast dinner, substituting the fat sodden potatoes with a baked beans and cheese combination, and all the while trying to avoid the monotony of Eastenders and other mind numbing soaps. Not last night though, no siree. Last night I emerged from my abode like a squirrel (Sciurus Vulgaris) surfacing from his winter slumber. I was fresh faced and invigorated, ready for a London summer evening with the added entertainment of ‘The Lake Poets’ at XOYO.

Sunderland born Martin Longstaff (aka The Lake Poets) was in London to support the impressive ‘Smoke Fairies’ and to play tracks from his forthcoming ‘Honest Hearts’ EP (out on the 16th June 2014). The acoustic set was a mesmerising affair that highlighted what a talented songwriter and performer this young man is. His ability to tell stories while maintaining addictive and catchy melodies was something I certainly hadn’t been expecting and more even more surprising was the subject matter … pit closures, the death of a close relative and the more lighthearted “having a really shit job”. Longstaff was confident enough to tackle personal subjects and allow us to have a glimpse into his life for the 45 minute set, and I for one came away more humbled than when i arrived.

The reference to the “shit job” came in the form of the wonderful ‘Dead Horses’ which was the stand-out track of the evening. It’s a song that will certainly receive deserved airplay and had the most infectious chorus. Fellow EP tracks ‘Windowsill’ and title track ‘Honest Hearts’ also impressed and confirmed what a strong release this EP will be for Longstaff.

Older tracks, spanning the ‘The Lake Poets’ early CD releases, were also given an airing. The haunting ‘April’, which received deserved Radio1 airplay last year, highlighted Longstaff’s stunning vocal range. ‘Edinburgh’ received warm applause. Again, it’s a well written track containing a beautifully crafted chorus that sticks with you long after its end.

‘The Lake Poets’ are set to play more dates. Their EP launch (with full band) is at the Sebright Arms on the 18th June. Other dates are…

27th May – Band On The Wall, Manchester w/ Smoke Fairies

28th May – The Duchess, York w/ Smoke Fairies

29th May – East Village Arts Club, Liverpool w/ Smoke Fairies

30th May – The Poetry Club, Glasgow w/ Smoke Fairies

1st June – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham w/ Smoke Fairies

2nd June – XOYO, London w/ Smoke Fairies

3rd June – Thekla, Bristol w/ Smoke Fairies

4th June – Stick Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton w/ Smoke Fairies

18th June – Sebright Arms, London (EP Launch Show)

20th June – Brudenell Games Room, Leeds w/Sam Airey

The track-listing for the ‘Honest Hearts’ EP is as follows…

1.Windowsill

2.Honest Hearts

3.Dead Horses

4.Husks

5.Windowsill (reprise)

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