15 November 2012 (gig)
18 November 2012
This was my second trip to the 100 Club in the past three months, having seen Paul Weller and Japandroids play the famous venue in August this year. In the absence of the 1975, who were supposed to play, the set times were more spread out. Playing to a limited, but nonetheless varied crowd, Dan Croll and Matthew Mole opened the night and serenaded with pieces new and old.
Previously a member of Norwegian band Eye Emma Jedi (and briefly math rock band Dire Wolf), Staffordshire-based Dan Croll has been gaining recognition as a solo artist, with plays both on Radio 1 and 6Music. Playing songs such as ‘In Your Midst’ and ‘Always Like This’, I wonder if I’d be forgiven for detecting a little Jamiroquai in pieces such as ‘Wanna Know’. ‘If you ever come to my house/ Take your shoes off at the door/ Because it’s impolite not to/ You’ll be damaging my floor/ It’s my home’ Croll sang, adding a little serenade to his otherwise falsetto funk.
Following a rather long interlude between acts, Wild Belle came on around 10pm. Having written about them in my student newspaper the Founder back in March, the fact that I was about to watch them headline at the 100 Club plays testament to their rising profile. Since releasing a taster track ‘Keep You’ on BandCamp at the beginning of 2012, the painfully-cool brother and brother-sister duo Natalie and Elliot Bergman from Chicago have risen to become the most exciting thing to come out of America since Azealia Banks or Lana Del Ray (minus, perhaps, the pouting lips).
First-time listeners of Wild Belle, you would be forgiven for detecting a little reggae/jazz underlay, interspersed with Elliott’s sax-playing in ‘Keep You’ and ‘It’s Too Late’. Natalie sang in her soulful voice (not unlike Moloko’s early stuff), while bopping effortlessly along to the music, ‘I’m not asking for lots of fancy toys/Someone to keep me warm at night’. In total, they played about half a dozen songs, each one varied and interesting in their own way, completely devoid of homogeneity.
The third song in Wild Belle’s set introduced a more spiritual resolve, ‘I wanna leave but I don’t know how/ Is this a happy home?/ Is this a happy home?’ Bergman sang, pleading with the listener to self-question and reflect. If good, well-composed music is Wild Belle’s intention, then their ability to draw you with verse is equally well-made. Finishing with ‘Keep You’, Wild Belle gave the crowd an effortless taste to their varied music style.