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Honey Child, The Bulls, Steady Holiday At The Satellite, Monday June 27th 2016


Steady Holiday


Monday at the Satellite was a dreamy night with a series of bands bringing their own version of dream pop, folk, rock and beyond. Honey Child opened the evening, or Honey Child the choir I should say, as the large ensemble defines its sound as ‘the love child of Roy Orbison and Harry Nilsson that ran away with a gospel choir’… I am sure Father John Misty would come up with a sarcastic remark at this idea, looking at what he wrote for Jenny Lewis’ new band ‘Nice As Fuck’, but who cares, Honey Child sounded really dreamy and angelic, lead by chanteuse Claire McKeown, who certainly has the most operatic voice in the business. However, you can’t say Honey Child is in any business, except the business of making people happy and resonate at the sound of beauty. This is what they are after, beauty, serenity as each one of the songs performed by the all-women choir sounded like a delightful hymn inspiring complete silence from the crowd. The choir comes with a sort of lovely mise-en-scène, all these women wear long country white dresses and Claire McKeown sits in the middle of all this, either sitting behind her organ or playing her ukulele. With such sparse instrumentation, their songs are very stripped down and so much about voices and harmonies that they may transport you in heaven for a few minutes, if such a thing exists. They covered the Beatles’ Across the Universe’, and if everyone has covered the Beatles, very few have given them justice and interpreted them with this level of reverence. They also announced a new song, which sounded very cinematic with a heartbreaking chorus and an almost Russian folksy vibe. Honey Child should release a debut album at some point, and I hope it comes soon since this should be a must listen during one of these warm summer nights.

The Bulls brought another type of melancholia although their style was very different. If melancholia there was. it resided in frontwoman Anna Bulbrook’s deep and dreamy vocals, installing a quiet drama while the rest of the band was providing emotional and vibrant soundscapes with heavy drumming and a sort of shoegaze. Multi-instrumentalist Bulbrook, who has previously worked with The Airborne Toxic Event and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, recently formed the Bulls with guitarist Marc Sallis (The Duke Spirit), and their music has already captivated the attention of a few radios since the Bulls were Alt 98.7’s featured ‘Artist in Residence’ in March 2015. It was dreamy music until it would start to speed up into a rock mode, constantly haunted by Bulbrook’s ethereal vocals and her soaring electric violin, bringing another sonic layer. And if you had to make some comparisons, one of their most successful songs, ‘Come Unwound’ has a sort of The Cranberries meets the The Pixies, but they have both cited Nico as an inspiration.

It was Steady Holiday’s residency and at the first song, I knew we weren’t done with the night’s dreamy theme, not that anyone was complaining! Frontwoman Dre Babinski was singing with a sweet and tiny whisper-like voice, a voice so delicate, it has to be the ultimate standard for dream pop. I immediately got a very Euro-vibe for some obscure reason. May be it was the murmur and the strings-like arrangements produced by the layers of synth, which brought a sort of Serge Gainsbourg-Francoise-Hardy thing with a touch of Stereolab. She was often harmonizing with her female guitarist, or picking her electric violin and the result, lost in balladerie and reverie, could have been the soundtrack for a summery, beachy nouvelle vague movie. Another song, ‘Temporary Secretary’, went into a more upbeat mood as a sort of interruption of her precious dream pop and bringing a hypnotic kraut pop.

Dre was the violinist/vocalist of Dusty Rhodes and the River Band, and one half of the folkpop project Miracle Days, she has now her own project and her debut album, ‘Under the Influence’, will be released next Friday. They closed their set with an all-cast (with Honey Child) cover of Olivia Newton-John’s ‘Xanadu’ and we were still in paradise.


Honey Child


The Bulls


More pictures here.

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