Last weekend saw the triumphant return of Live Expressions to Upstairs at the Ritzy. The acoustic showcase for new musicians brought us 8 acts throughout the evening, all curated by the talented New Zealand singer-songwriter Dion Deverill.
The evening began with Angelo Vitiello on guitar and vocals. His tender voice and melancholy vibe set the tone beautifully. As his set continued he revealed a deep vocal range, and his sometimes slurred delivery of the lyrics gave his sound a sleepy bluesy feel.
Our second treat for the evening was a short set from Dion himself. Playing covers and his own compositions, he also entertained the crowd with his Kiwi banter. I always enjoy his cover of Wicked Games, with his vocal rendition ranging from falsetto to growls, his delivery did not disappoint this evening.
The third act of the evening was the incredibly talented Gareth Esson. With one of those voices that oozes warmth, his beautifully rich and resonant performance hushed the audience throughout. My favourite song from his set was the appealingly titled ‘James is a Superhero’. He ended with a wonderfully upbeat cover of ‘Cupid’ – with the whole audience clapping along. Keep your ears open and eyes out for his freshly released album.
One of the surprises of the evening for me was alt soul act Nile J. With laid back banter and a gorgeously captivating voice it was a real treat to discover such a refreshing sound. The double bass lent another level to the set, this along with some interwoven harmonies led to an enchanting performance. The inclusion of a Lauryn Hill cover really pleased the room, but it was the track ‘Why did I waste my time on you?’ that did it for me.
Local folk trio Young Causeway were next up. Their country harmonies suggested some Americana influences. With violin, guitar and bass the boys clearly enjoy making music together. Great stage energy and a very tight performance.
Kate Torallba started her set with an energetic Pearl Jam cover. She won the audience over instantly with her playful interaction, voting the hottest guys in the room and telling her stories of London experiences since arriving from The Philippines. On voice and keyboard she puts a lot of physicality into her performance and her surprisingly powerful voice ensured her audience were enjoying the show as much as she was.
Quirky 3-piece Japanese Fighting Fish added a touch of theatre to the evening with brilliant acoustic renditions of their rock-funk tunes. The band’s chemistry shone through in their music to create a entertaining set from the headliners including a playful rendition of ‘People are Strange’.
French Band Reckless Jacks rounded off the live acts with an emotional set, the addition of lead guitarist Scotty to the line-up adding even more flair to their delivery. Congratulations Ritzy on another collection of incredibly talented performers!