2012 Barclaycard Mercury Prize Live 24.10.2012 – LSO St. Luke’s
As the announcement of this year’s winner of the Mercury Music Prize looms ever closer we at Shazam were invited to the last in a series of gigs showcasing this year’s nominees in association with the War Child charity. To conclude the series it was up to underground upstart’s Alt-J, BBC Sound of 2012 winner Michael Kiwanuka and indie’s long term sweethearts The Maccabees to bring proceedings to a close.
The gig was held at LSO St. Lukes, an old converted church in East London. This was to be the perfect surroundings for the first act of the night, Alt-J. Opening with Interlude I (The Ripe & Ruin) Alt-J were accompanied by a choir which complemented their intricate acapella harmonies beautifully, the voices of the choir really bringing to life the environment of the gothic setting. Throughout their set Alt-J continued to weave their distinctive vocals with their refined, sometimes obscure take on Indie music, showing why they are one of the UK’s freshest most polished live acts out there at the moment and in with a good shot of winning the Mercury prize this year.
Next up it was the turn of Michael Kiwanuka performing tracks from his debut album Home Again. Tonight Kiwanuka was backed by a full live band which brought a whole new dimension to some of Kiwanuka’s most loved tracks from his critically acclaimed debut. Tracks such as Tell Me A Tale and I’ll Get Along sounded incredible reinforced by the fuller sound of the band, but it was when Kiwanuka was alone with his acoustic guitar that he really shone. Left only with his guitar for company Kiwanuka’s soulful rich voice was given space to project and really show off his vocal talents. Running through fan favorites such as Rest and Home Again left the crowd awash in silence, dumbfounded by Kiwanuka’s incredible voice.
Finally it came the turn of The Maccabees to take to the stage. Seen as long term veterans compared to the two previous acts The Maccabees stepped out to perform tracks from their third album Given To The Wild. As the more seasoned of the night’s acts The Maccabees commanded the stage from the moment the first chord rang out across the venue. Although the overall sound of ‘Given To The Wild’ may have lost some of the energy compared to their sprightly debut ‘Colour It In’ the London boys more than made up for it with their live show.
This year’s Mercury awards seem to be wide open with no clear front runner in sight. With incredible albums from the likes of Jessie Ware, Richard Hawley, Lianne La Havas and Plan B this year’s contest is going to be a hard fought battle. After seeing these three artists though my vote would have to go to alt-J. Their album An Awesome Wave is a mature and intriguing blend of Pop, Indie and Electronica, which sounds as if it was produced by a band that have been in the music game for a lot longer than these eccentric debutantes.