Would you like my honest review or my professional review? I’ll give you my honesty. I went to this gig purely to see Michael C Hall. Yep, I wanted to see Dexter sing. I have never been to Hackney’s EartH venue and I am so glad I went. There was nothing too special on the exterior, old theatre vibes and restaurants adorned the lower part. After climbing the many narrow staircases, and passing a swish-dark bar area I came out at the top of a traditional theatre.
Rows and rows of wooden benches that doubled up as steps. Taking in all of the interior you just know the sound in this one room will be exquisite. The stage was low and wide with a small almost ‘band practice’ area in the centre. Drinks were all canned and a whopping £2.60 for a can of coke! Not a venue for a nice drink I’m afraid but the staff made up for that.
I wait for the support act to appear on my rather comfortable two-seater bench between the benches and the front seat section when a woman in a cabaret outfit struts onto the dark stage and grabs a microphone. Ok?. Beija Flo opens up like her outfit, loud and almost showgirl-like but with a very down-to-earth comedic vibe. Visually I wasn’t too sure how to take this act, was she a comedy act or a vocal performer? Music starts accompanied by her trusty iPad at her feet she begins to sing. I was taken aback by her vocal skills.
Ranging from stage shows, broadway and the occasional screaming. Very cleverly lulling the audience into dreamy swaying melodies with theatrical stage spotlighting, which I might add, was on point with Beija Flo’s whole performance. Coming out of these trances with a nice bit of humour and announcing songs such as “Secondhand Cockrings’ ‘ which brought on a bit of a titter amongst the audience. I started to really enjoy the whole experience of her little funny anecdotes and abruptly ending songs with a “Fanx”. I really wished she’d had a longer set. I took a look around the venue again to see it was only at a third of its capacity, making me feel a little sad for both acts this evening. Everyone was seated and very civilised …….. Then on walked Michael C Hall.
A wave of people rose from their seats and surrounded the stage like moths to a flame. The stage was in complete darkness with a slow-moving frontman just standing alone on the stage like the first act. Here we go, I get to see and hear MCH in the flesh.
I have only listened to a few snippets of Princess Goes as I wanted to get a first-time experience for myself live. First off, why drop the original name? ‘Princess goes to the butterfly museum’ fits these musicians more than just Princess goes. Own it. After what seems like forever Hall opens up and produces a unique sound which I can’t place, not at all what I thought he would sound like. This is not an act that you can fit into any particular genre as they really do have a sound of their own. Joined on stage by drummer Peter Yanowitz and keyboardist Matt Katz-Bohen who throughout the entire set were in darkness adding to some quite genius low-key theatrics.
The stage set-up was as intimate as the whole event was. Tight, dark and really effective in creating a one-of-a-kind experience. A nice steady start to the set with well-paced beats, hunting longer notes on the keyboard not overly synth and finishing up with a long synth note. Again, not what I was expecting but the second song had me hooked.
‘Let it go’, you know when you hear a track for the first time that hits you in a way that puts a lump in your throat? Imagine that but as if someone has reached deep in your chest and done that to your heart! Closing my eyes to let this really take hold of my other senses I fell deeper into it. A slow keyboard that kicked into orbit when the drum beat dropped, a combination of futuristic synth and primitive drums. This man can really hold a note. Not only can MCH bring it with his acting but he puts just as much passion into performing on stage.
Absolutely mesmerising avant-garde. One track after another with very little interaction with the crowd, apart from MCH swiping someone’s phone and taking pictures before handing it back to the owner with a beaming smile, they just kept the act moving. Hats off to the lighting crew for this show, perfectly timed strobes, combined flashes and spotlights. Chefs kiss. Fifthteen tracks with three encores of utter genius and dedication.
No two songs sounded like the other in music or vocals. Such range of vocals and performance from all three. So, my honest opinion is that I went to see Michael C Hall but I came out having seen the incredibly talented Princess Goes supported by the unique Beija Flo, two artists who now live on my playlist
Review by: Donna Richards
Photos by: krakenmedia.org