After what seemed like weeks (or in the case of the organiser Sadie Horler, months) of preparation, the day had come, today was the day when 25 musicians, bands and artists would come together for the Musicians Against Homelessness event hosted at The Phoenix in Exeter. Homelessness is a real concern across the region, one homeless person died within a stones throw of Exeter Phoenix in the last week alone proving that there is a real concern and need for action to be taken.
We were expecting a healthy turnout and we were not disappointed, people came in their droves to support a wonderful charity called Crisis which does some amazing work with homeless people, providing food, shelter and support to an ever growing amount of people who find themselves, through various reasons, without a place to call home.
The Phoenix had provided 3 stages for the event, the main auditorium for the bands, the acoustic room and the outdoor terrace area which provided a great place for people to enjoy the sunshine and the amazing music. Amongst the acts performing in the acoustic room was the super talented Joanna Cooke (who we last saw at Boardmasters last year), we caught up with Joanna after her set and she was delighted to offer her services for such a great cause but was sad that she had to dash off to play a party later on in the evening. Melissa Bel absolutely shone and provided the audience with something to take home and remember for a long time to come, Samantics managed to fill the room, with people queueing beyond the door and, peering in through the windows for a glimpse of his unplugged ukulele show, his effortless humour and razor sharp wit had the crowd laughing one moment and moved to tears the next throughout his set. Local Duo Skeg stepped in at the last minute to fill a cancelled slot and Will Heggadon did a sterling job of keeping the room entertained with a great set and when Jamie Yost and Matthew Gordon Price took to the stage to close the curtain on the stage, the room was in awe at the sound that they produced, I stayed for their entire set and was mesmerised at the sheer beauty of the music and the tenderness that they portrayed in the lyrics.
On the SoundLaunch Stage, we were able to catch Azzura playing solo with a mix of beautiful guitar and melancholy lyrics, Holly who played warm tunes sung from the heart and Ivy Mcshane who dazzled with her slide guitar skills. Later on we caught up with Izzy Warren; this young lady is definitely someone worth watching and we are sure it won’t be long until she reaches the dizzy heights that her peers are achieving. Rowena and Anna Hamill played an entertaining set which closed the stage, featuring a sublime, stripped back acoustic version of “You’re The One That I Want” as featured in the hit 70’s musical ‘Grease’
The auditorium schedule began and ended with a Dub Reggae vibe and was ably compered by local radio host Ted Evans (aka The Cult of Superted) who bookended each act with a clarion call for people to take personal action to end homelessness. We saw an awesome set from Teignmouth based The Datura Roots Collective, their fusion of guitar led melodies, saxophone, bass and drums provided a solid platform for the audience to groove over. Lonely Eddie provided some amazing sounds from his ‘one man band’ styled workstation, loop pedals, drums and keyboards used to great effect throughout his set. It was Andy Quick’s birthday the other day so after a quick ‘man hug’, I let him take to the stage to perform his set, this man is a true musical chameleon and whatever guise he appears in, his show is always an absolute banger. Intricate, funky guitar riffs, tight bass and a solid drumline provided a foundation that Paul Lacey (of The Scribes) to perform some amazing beatbox skills. By the time they played their last note, the place was absolutely jumping!
Ciaran Austin followed up with a huge set consisting of his unique keyboard led rap based music and midway through the set, invited Sadie Horler to the stage to provide guest vocals on one of his songs. As the evening wore on, so did the quality of acts kept everyone energised and by the time The Kaizens took to the stage, people were ready to party. Their music really got everyone moving once again and I have to say that this South Devon based indie-rock quartet have a great deal going for them, keep a close eye on these guys as it won’t be long until they stop playing intimate shows and move on to much bigger things. The last time we saw Radiosaurus, they shared the stage with a huge inflatable dinosaur, sadly, he had not been invited along to the show tonight but they did play a killer set consisting of some brilliantly executed songs that pleased the room that had turned out to watch them, For the final act, we needed a BIG band and Sadie Horler had come up trumps by booking Barefoot Bandit who graced the room with an incredible set, chock full of dub and roots numbers that just made you dance, nothing more could be said about their set, it was immense!
After the music stopped, invites were issued to anyone who wanted to carry on partying into the wee small hours at The Old Firehouse, sadly, I was on an early train to London the next day so, after thanking Sadie and her amazing team for putting on such a fabulous event in the heart of Exeter, I left the venue feeling proud for what she had managed to pull together using her list of contacts from the local music scene.
Finally, I wanted to add a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who assisted in getting the event up and running, firstly, The Phoenix for providing 3 stages for the acts to play, the fabulous bar staff who all worked tirelessly to keep people refreshed (some a little too refreshed!), local musicians such as Jake Friese-Green from (local alt-rock band Dead Ground) who will be releasing their superb new single on October 12th, Yazzy (who recently supported the awesome Paloma Faith at a party in Glastonbury hosted by Michael Eavis himself), Yazzy told us that she was moved to tears by the tremendous performance of Melissa Bel. Thanks also to Hannah from local duo Sound of the Sirens (no introduction needed there!) for coming along and supporting this amazing event and YOU for taking the time out of your hectic social calendars to buy tickets, come along, drink, eat and enjoy the evening.
Until the next time folks, we bid you a fond farewell, We're off for a much deserved sleep!
We'll shortly be posting all of the photos that we took at the event, keep your eyes peeled on the Gallery section of musomuso.