Words: Ilona Dobi | Photos: Matthew Kiss
On a warm London evening, in a small backstreet close to Angel station, a group of people started to gather around the entrance of an old building. It was announced that doors will open at 7:30pm however we weren’t let in till 8:30pm!
Due to the late start, the show kicked off almost immediately, and a young woman, dressed in black, appeared on the stage with a single electric guitar. There’s not much information about Alice Barlow online (not to mix up with the girl from The Voice), other than she is from South-East London and she usually performs with a full band, but this time she was just by herself. She played enchanting, melancholic music, singing with passion about love mostly (as I tried to catch the lyrics). After her set the stage was filled with colourful smoke, the time was nearing for the main act Vagabon.
Vagabon arrived about 15 minutes later with a similar set up, added a linear wave sampler, which she used in just a few songs. The crowd was really anticipating this moment, they cheered loudly for her. She started out with songs that I had the chance to listen to unlike the previous artist’s. I already knew some of her witty lyrics and it was pleasant to hear her sing songs like ‘Fear & Force’, ‘The Embers’ and ‘Cold Apartment Floors’ flawlessly, hypnotising her audience while doing so. She also admitted being nervous playing the first time in London, showing us a vulnerable person behind the confident performance. Somebody even shouted “You’re doing great!” to reassure her. Her set was short (probably due to the late beginning of the event) although she played a mixture of old and new material, including a very new song in the beginning and an old one for the encore.
People were focusing and were into her music so much that they were quiet during the songs and clapped hardly when the music stopped. I think the reactions and the fact that they needed to put the show in a bigger venue to make space for everyone was interesting, it clearly shows that this humble and talented, New York based artist has a bright future. After the show she was even hanging out with fans by the merchandise table which is always nice to see.
The whole event was a bit shorter than I expected, but there was a feeling of intimacy that made these brief performances a fleeting moment in time which I was elated to be apart of.