KENELIS / CANVAS WALL / ‘TIL DUSK / CHASING ORA @ INDIGO2 18/02/2011

I’m finally getting back to normality after an epic trip – leaving home at 3pm on Thursday for a 7pm gig on Friday and getting back home about 1am on Sunday. I did manage to squeeze in rather a lot – such a great time, but the overriding reason for travelling was to catch the launch of Kenelis’ single ‘Jealous’.

A wee guy called Usher was playing in the room next door, but we made sure to go the right way and got into IndigO2 just after the first band, Canvas Wall had started. Top priority, however, was to visit the Kenelis merchandise stall to say hello to Mel. Seeing her busy herself setting out the stall gave absolutely no hint of the transformation that would occur later when she took to the stage.

Following on stage next were ‘til Dusk who provided another tight and accomplished set to help set the crowd up. They were followed by The Raid who certainly ‘raided’ the senses by cranking things up a few more notches with their more energetic and driven performance. We couldn’t help comparing the lead singer’s performance to that of Liam Gallagher, but this was certainly no ‘wannabe Oasis’ performance – clearly another band who we will hear more of in the future. Chasing ORA provided yet another layer to this wonderful showcase evening for talented yet unsigned bands. The music scene is such a fickle place to try to succeed – gimmicks and fads can so often displace true talent – nights such as this are so essential to enable hard-grafting bands to get the exposure that they deserve. All credit to the promoter, Ali Hodge, for making it possible to be able to experience these bands in such a great venue. I personally prefer small intimate venues over large arenas, so to find this one almost ‘hidden’ away beside the O2 arena was so refreshing – just a shame that it’s so far from the Scottish Borders!

And then – for me, the main event (sorry DiceJar, but if it hadn’t been for Kenelis, I would never have been there anyway)! After weeks of anticipation, there was Mel, Andy 1, James, Andy 2 and Oli – setting up on stage.

And then – it was over!

In between, however, well I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. The pleasant,friendly,bubbly, fairly quiet young lady from the merchandise stall was transformed – an absolute powerhouse took over the stage – wrong, took over the venue – my world! Despite the fact that the first song had Mel informing us that we “could die any minute”, everything just felt right. The range of structure and style within the set confirmed Kenelis as varied, genre-crossing and unique. Like the music, Mel is certainly no ‘one-trick pony’ – she effortlessly entertained, moving about the stage, posturing, playing guitar, gesturing, playing keyboard, interacting with the crowd and singing her heart out! The single, ‘Jealous’, may be short but it hits right between the eyeballs, no back-stabbing here – Mel calls it as she feels, and that is really what makes the performance so enthralling. This is music straight from the gut and I can’t imagine that anybody in the venue could have ignored what was happening on stage! I can’t really substantiate this, however, as I was so utterly engrossed right in front of the stage. A couple of new numbers along with some more familiar (to me) songs, ‘Drained’ and ‘Give Her The Gun’, and all too quickly the set was over.

The problems associated with the venue location were really brought home to me as we had to leave shortly after Kenelis had finished in order to catch the last train from Victoria! No disrespect to DiceJar, I’ll just have to catch up with your music later, but I personally can’t imagine anybody following Kenelis. After bidding goodnight to Mel, it was back underground for a trip back to the flat via the interesting nightlife in Bromley – don’t the police get issued with cars there? All that running must help keep them fit!

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