Tim De Graaw
Having spent almost the whole night with the charmingly laid-back De Graaw, it was clear that his set was going to be a good one. He has an openness and confidence to him that is so refreshing; a true gent with a great sound. Having seen De Graaw once before in a smaller setting (a Sofar Sounds performance in Brixton) earlier in the year there was an eager participation in seeing him perform here. Tooting Tram was the perfect venue to see him and his band- a stage where they could really let loose.
Bassist Emmanuel Nazzaro and drummer Aaron Colton joined De Graaw onstage- two highly talented guys who clearly love playing in this line-up. Colton prepared himself for the show with a nap; perhaps not the most debauch of backstage antics. Despite this, the drummer was definitely energised during the performance, smashing his kit and throughout the set with a cool assertiveness.
Before his band took the stage, De Graaw told GIGsoup that this show was one of their biggest tests yet. Any nerves he might have had, did not for one second seem apparent. De Graaw is a wonderful frontman. His sound harks back to true rock n roll, with heavy and dominating guitar riffs battling with his slightly husky voice. This is all tied together with a nonchalant and defiant swagger. This man is so at one with his music, he somehow manages to continuously sweep back long hair from his eyes whilst not missing a single note.
The band are certainly destined for bigger things. Here they had no trouble headlining a great night with some promising talent on show. Their next show is May 29th at The Monarch in Camden. De Graaw also regularly plays Spiritual Bar in Camden, with a host of other brilliant singer-songwriters.
Having listened to the increasingly popular Jerry Williams for several months, it was a great pleasure to finally see her live. Performing a stripped back solo set, Williams took to the stage with her awesomely striped trousers and a guitar that sat humongous on her tiny frame. She head-bopped and shimmied her way through a fantastic set. The quick and imaginative ‘Mother’ was brilliantly reworked here as an acoustic track, and Williams’ voice allowed a more central role without the rest of the band- a fresh take on an already brilliant number. ‘Velcro’ is a wonderfully written tune which builds in many emotive layers. Things were wrapped up nicely with a crowd-pleasing rendition of The Cure’s ‘Boys Don’t Cry’; the singer’s voice somehow adding a greater sense of heartbreak to the classic. Williams told GIGsoup that she almost crashed her car whilst hearing herself played on BBC Radio 1. She will have to keep a closer eye on the road as she will no doubt have plenty of airwave time coming up soon. Be sure to catch her soon. She is set for a big summer of festivals, including Victorious and Close Up in the coming months.
Entering the fray, donning a white T and a laid-back beanie, Polly Money was a ray of sunshine that outshone even the beautiful fairy lights that hugged every inch of the stage. Money has a great voice that you cannot escape- especially when she smiles at almost any possible opportunity. Her charm is second only to her song-writing, albeit her interactions with friends in the crowd being good value for money- even if it was a free show. ‘It Would Be Ok’ is a huge song, one that brought the room into focus on Money’s smooth and impressive guitar playing. ‘The Adventures of the 90’s Kid’ is her latest EP, full of thoughtfully written songs, including ‘Goodnight’: a beautifully soothing song, perfectly arranged. Definitely worth a listen, Money is the perfect light soundtrack to the (hopefully) sunnier months ahead.
This young singer was the first to perform on the night, as the venue was still filling out. Those that had not arrived already had missed out, and those present were most definitely captivated. This is a mature, soul-inspired voice from the 17 year old. With a simple echoing of an electric guitar behind her, Elsa Grace brought a calmness to the room. If you closed your eyes and listen to her voice, you would never believe it was somebody so young with a voice so well-rounded and songs so deep in meaning. Grace will surely pick up more shows as time goes by. Look out for her name: there is definitely good things to come here.
Also on hand that night was the refined Connor James. James whizzed through his set with self-assured ease, a coolness that complimented the mood of the evening, no end. James has a style similar to that of Ray Lamontagne, whether a coincidence or planned comparison he is not far from the American signer, just slightly less of a rugged voice.
Cascobay had by far the biggest sound of the night. Local South London boys, they are a polished outfit playing pop infused Indie. The band call this brand of pop as Tropical Pop and it’s as catchy as it is easy going. They could easily make their way into anybody’s music collection: pleasing to the ear and tight-knit . They are formatted well and certainly have the scope to reach a huge audience.