If there were any setting more perfect for the easy, soulful sounds of a young and ambitious band, than tucked away in the bustling centre of vibrant Camden Lock, then I have yet to find it.
As the March sun welcomed visitors on a Friday afternoon, crowds formed by the bridge, enticed by the sound of live music. What greeted those curious few was the sight of 4 young men – surely still teenagers – performing music that caught the attention of the young and old.
A hand-made banner displayed their title – ‘The Kings Parade’ – and a stack of CDs sat on the ground by a guitar case. It presented dozens of coins, indicating that the band had either been there a while or had made enough of an impression to make tourists and residents alike dip into their pockets and offer their money in exchange for a CD, for the handsome price of £3 I was later to learn.
Not buskers, but a full band stood with enough vigour and confidence to perform in one of London’s busiest towns without a moment’s hesitation. Their presence was astounding, even as the crowds grew larger.
Their music was refreshing to say the least. What one normally expects from street performers of this nature would be an array of cover songs – predictably formed of Oasis, Jake Bugg and the occasional ‘quirky’ pop adaptation. But what a delight! A full set of original songs, all included on the album they were promoting.
Their sound was an intriguing mixture of easy listening, soul and indie with the playful and endearing vocals you’d expect from Jack Penate but encapsulating the raw soul and charisma of Paul Weller’s solo catalogue. The instruments were wonderfully entwined: slow guitars and colourful keyboard work giving a Motown vibe, accompanied by a single box drum played expertly.
It’s not unusual for one to hear a band like this live and wonder whether the beauty of the live performance would translate as well in the recording studio and onto a track. Remarkably, after a little snooping on their Facebook page I can confirm that their recorded tracks are just as powerful.
The most shocking thing to come from this experience is the knowledge that this band is still unsigned. I can’t for the life of me understand why. With an effortless, accessible sound these boys have the potential to be big and with the help of some more performances like the one I saw yesterday, I can believe that they won’t be unsigned for much longer.