As someone who spends a lot of their waking hours listening to alternative/rock and on the peripheries of ankle-snapping moshpits at heavy gigs, it was such a joy to take a pew in Mill Hill Chapel for Elanor Moss and her two exquisite opening acts. The lit church setting had a festive feel to it, despite the balminess of the air outside, and hours passed fast as soulful folk was played.
Wounded Bear opened, with almost monologue-style, humorously conversational bursts punctuating their. Under his stage monicker, Josh supplied versatile, mellow sounds via just an acoustic guitar accompaniment.
As though we were all seated for an evening with the artist, his chatter between tracks was well received, and his explanations behind his songs were fresh and interesting. We enjoyed a just-the-night-before written piece, ‘Shaking Me Down’ (with its fun lines about fancy dress, fake angel wings and Bruce Springsteen costumes), and an offering that had When Harry Met Sally at its roots.
It was a delightful half an hour that was only made better by the entrance of Sam, a member of The Howl & The Hum, who’d emerged to bring us a fabulously frantic, fully immersive solo performance. While it was more energetic than Wounded Bear’s softness, there was still a genteel quality to Sam’s delivery of what he dubbed “really horrible songs in a really beautiful environment”.
Throughout, his powerful voice gripped all ears amid his starkly candid songwriting ability, and his engaging dry wit drew everyone in even further. A few people (myself included) snapped photos, but it was mostly a phones-down, in-the-moment affair.
After first seeing Elanor Moss play a very soggy tent set at Deer Shed Festival, it was a pleasant change to witness her perform in the warm and dry. Her mixed uses of acoustic and electric guitars was well complemented by the addition of her saxophonist, and Elanor was every bit the fantastic folk songstress that fans had turned out for.
Some new material was weaved into her setlist, but it was the deep, dark rumbles of ‘Catholic’ that really tipped the scales for me. Ethereal harmonies atop almost cello-esque chords? Well, that’s just something else — especially in a church.
Whatever go-to genre, Elanor Moss and both her supports entertained and impressed acoustically, so get glued to their gigging schedules and see them for yourself.
With thanks to Hanglands for the press invite.