In one of Bristol’s most unique venues, The Cloak and Dagger, Melotone were joined by Pem and Quade for an intimate night that explored a whole variety of atmospheres 

When you step into The Cloak and Dagger, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d walked into a hipster vintage clothing store/coffee shop. But grab a beer and head down the stairs and you’re met with the basement. The combination of armchairs, wallpaper and flags slung across the ceiling really make the venue feel like your cool relative’s living room – in the best way possible. For such a cosy and intimate venue, I did not expect such a variety of genres and experimentation spread across the three fantastic acts. 

First up was singer-songwriter Pem, whose style was the most fitting for the cosy Cloak and Dagger. Backed only by her electric guitar, Pem entranced the packed room with her simple but gorgeous compositions. In fact, the audience was so entranced that Pem noted several times how quiet everyone was. Pem’s voice, reminiscent of Katy J Pearson, fits the sound of her quiet folk perfectly. Her lyrics were honest and her sound confident yet fragile. For such a stripped back set, her control of her set was extraordinary.

In the first mood shift of the night, Bristol band Quade brought their post-rock experimentation to the small venue. The four-piece were masters in creating atmosphere, taking small ideas and gradually swelling them without you even realising that anything had changed. Violins built tension while the bass, unusually handled by the vocalist, was reserved but essential. The drums were a highlight, with stabs coming in unexpectedly as the songs grew and grew. The mix brought the drums right to the front, giving the set an uneasy and unpredictable feel. 

Finally, Melotone closed out the night brilliantly. After the tension built by Quade, Melotone’s psych-jazz brought the energy to a more relaxed conclusion. Much like their support acts, the band were in complete control throughout their entire set. Every member was completely in touch with every other and their sound was tightly executed and satisfying to witness live. On the surface, their set did not jump out as being revolutionary, but allow yourself to drift away to the atmosphere created and you can appreciate just how talented Melotone really are. With their guitarist playing sitting down due to a Voi-related shoulder injury, the set became even more intimate. Channelling similar energy to Khruangbin, Melotone’s blend of jazz, soul and psych fit perfectly in the snug walls of The Cloak and Dagger. 

All three sets caused the audience to drift away but all in entirely unique ways. To see such a special venue be utilised in such a creative way was a delight.