Live review: Mica Millar, support from Little Grace, and Neil Noa
Date: Wednesday 13th September 2017
Venue: Buyers Club, Hardman Street
Reviewer: Luke Moore
Soul songstress Mica Millar’s journey down the M62 may well have been powered solely by the flurry of great write ups she’s had in recent months. The endorsements – “Next bit thing” (Manchester Evening News), “an artist to watch” (Karen Gabay, BBC/ITV) and BBC Introducing’s “Artist of the week” – speak as much volume as Mica and her band’s flawless headline performance that engrossed us all on Wednesday.
I must confess, it was my first time at Buyers Club, but I’m already looking forward to getting back there as soon as I see something on that catches my eye. It’s a gem of a venue, where sound, lighting and the layout of the space all come together to showcase the performances wonderfully. The room was pretty busy, particularly so for a midweek gig, and I arrived for the tail end of Neil Noa’s set. The combo of gorgeous electric guitar and a really solid percussive feel worked really well alongside a great vocal. I can only comment based on the last couple of songs, but even from those, I took away an impression of sincerity and a genuine talent.
Next up were Little Grace, whose set exuded an assured confidence. The three-piece, whose influences include the likes of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and John Mayer, make a great sound together, and I was getting hints of Gorgon City and Moderat throughout their set. Combining soulful vocals with a very contemporary electronic feel, their opening track, Forget This Fight” set out their stall perfectly. The next tracks Brake Lights and Take Control continued this understated sultriness, and forming what could be a perfect soundtrack to the cocktail haze of misspent nights. The bass heavy opening to the final track, Higher Ground, took us to an even darker place. I’d have happily had another half hour or more listening to these guys, and the rest of the room was also completely transfixed.
After a pretty speedy changeover, the stage was set and the audience fell silent for Mica Millar. It’s a wonderful thing when everything seems to have come together for an artist that you’ve been following for a little while. In Mica’s case that includes not just a stunning vocal ability, but also a great line up of musicians, songs that grab you by both hands and take you on the journey with them, and all presented in a solid performance. Standout tracks included opening number No Money, Nor Faith (Freedom), her new single Not The First, as well as the hauntingly hypnotic Down River, with its goose bump inducing melody, a beautifully unsettling track. A perfectly judged handful of introductions to a few of the tracks from Mica added a little background and each of the fifteen songs – including a rendition of Natural Woman – flowed effortlessly into the next. The only criticism– and a questionable one at that – was that we were all left wanting more at the very end!
Luke Moore Professional Composer/Arranger
Music Tutor & Session musician
(cello, bass, double bass)
In addition to writing reviews for liverpoolacoustic.co.uk, Luke Moore is a freelance composer, arranger, session musician (cello/piano/bass guitar/double bass) and songwriter. With a business that aims to be a 'one stop shop' for bands and artists, Luke works with a lot of bands and artists in Liverpool, sharing their passion for original new music.