On Thursday we attended the industry evening of ACM Summer Live. The series of concerts in Guildford, Surrey held this year at the Electric Theatre lasts four days (with matinee performances) and boasts over 60 new acts.
This years event was organized in collaboration with Eagle 3 Radio [Surrey and Hampshire ] and benefited MUSIC SUPPORT a charity that provides help and support for individuals in the United Kingdom Music Indsutry who suffer from alcoholism, addiction or emotional or mental health problems.
The acts were introduced by Eagle 3 Radio presenter Jack Johnson .
First on stage were the Guildford five-nation five-piece groove-orchestra MARDHYS who are an experimental alt-folk collective fronted by the talented dreamer & chief songwriter Melatti Braam.
Songs such as “Old John” (an anti-bullying number) possessed scratched rhythms, sparkling vowels and a wriggle of violin that eeled its way through the haunting veil of harmonies. Think of English art-rock band the Moulettes playing Dylan songs to Tusk-era Fleetwood Mac beats.
The four-piece CHINA BEARS from Guildford (they seem to have mislaid Rosie along the way) provided bumptious bass-lines and kite-running anthems.
“Hyrda” has seaside chirpiness with nostalgic melodies and suggestively breezy vibrations. They reminded us of Ohio indie rockers The National.
Guildford based alternative indie rock band NEON ISLANDS brought bold ‘n’ fruity tropical bass-lines and lots of fizzy guitar textures with frantic rhythms to go with flirtatious numbers.
Carlos de los Santos provided voice and more front than Harrods, while Jamie Hayes on bass guitar was simply bloody sensational and Nico Narbona (keys) offered a smooth atmosphere. Rhythms were expertly clouted out by Sam Lawson on drums. Their irrepressible charm and unmistakable ego was perhaps more significant than the total sum of their parts and outpourings, but hey! that’s what rock ‘n’ roll is all about.
London urban pop artist and singer-songwriter CHINCHILLA [Daisy Bertenshaw] who studied at the ACM Metropolis Studios academy campus in Chiswick has a mezzo-soprano range and raps in silvery cockney bursts. At SUMMER LIVE it was as if Ms. Dynamite had met Lily Allen in an Archway launderette to discuss men and moan about the weather. Last year’s wordy and grumbly “Playing With Fire” is a powerful hymn to pain and salvation. She’s unquestionably a rising star and one-to-watch!
NABSORA (Brian Alejandro) is a rapper and producer originally from Colombia but is now based in London. He brought us a blast of interwoven social commentry through poety and hip-hop. His message relied on peace, love and understanding rather than rebellion.
As a poet he’s exceptional. As a rapper and lyricist he’s outstanding. His “Proud” has deep ridges of sound and is a profound crisis of contemplation set amongst vast expanses of forgiveness The vocal work is fast but accessible with elegant rhymes and melodic-hot songcraft.
Danish alternative electro-pop artist AIA creates marvelously colorful ear-tonics with decisive decency in her lyrics, taking in intertwisting rhythms to add to the drama of her performance.
She’s a fine tunesmith and an intrepidly hypnotic artist. (She reminded us of American synth-pop artist Halsey )
Also at the ACM Summer Live concert on Thursday were the Southampton based dramatic & punchy electronic duo UHURU consisting of singer/songwriter & producer Connor Daniel with Rob Jones on guitar and keys.
Plus soul and gospel singer JULY JONES and the distinctive indie-pop troupe THIS ROSE
It was a stunning evening of variety, discovery and five-star talent.
Words and pictures: @neilmach 2017 ©
Main Picture: CHINCHILLA
The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) is a music academy in Guildford, Surrey [with sites in London and Birmingham] that offers full-time courses for guitar, bass, drums, vocals, keyboards, music production, artist development & songwriting, radio broadcasting, creative sound design, tour production & management and music business.