Kate Vigo + The Commas + Hoy – The Northcote Social Club (09.07.11)

It was a laid back night of acoustic bliss as a sizeable crowd braved the wind and rain to seek refuge in the Northcote band room and help young upstart Kate Vigo celebrate the release of her new single “You’re Haunting Me”.

First on the billing were The Commas. They are a mysterious two piece as in spite of my best Google searching efforts, I haven’t been able to find a scrap of information about them online. Their music is a blend of sweet acoustics and sparse keyboards, with the stalwart vocalist sporting a soft, rich voice that made for delightful listening. The Commas play soulful, blues tinged, folk and have a rather understated presence. If you’re a fan of quiet acoustic tunes than keep an eye out for upcoming shows. The Commas definitely aren’t an energetic bunch, but their supple tunes and quiet disarming demeanour garnered them a warm round of applause at the end of their set.

Next up were Hoy, the band formerly known as Houlette. Playing as an acoustic three piece they charmed the audience with a set of folk infused pop melodies, with their glorious three part harmonies that make for blissful listening. They have a very relaxed presence and their set consisted of a number of inherently pretty tunes. Hoy mentioned that they usually play as a five piece and having seen them a number of times stripped back and acoustic, I’m keen to discover how the melodies unfold with the full band. They ended the night with a cover that saw lead vocalist Felicity Cripps crooning in French, a gorgeous end to a serene set.

The audience were privy to a special screening of the video that accompanies Kate Vigo’s single “You’re Haunting Me”, before a couple of masked girls ripped down the canvas that covered the stage to reveal Vigo and her band who immediately launched into the song. Vigo is a fantastic vocalist who seemed to enjoy the spot light. Her music is sugary sweet pop that sports an underlying melancholia. The general sound is not to my personal taste, however the music was very catchy and Vigo is a confident performer who seems destined for bigger and better things.

The definite highlight of the evening was Vigo’s version of Billie Hoilday’s “I’m Left Alone” that saw Vigo borrowing the lyrics and blending them with a dark pop soundscape and a decadently soulful vocal delivery. Unfortunately her backing band didn’t seem to share her enthusiasm for the music and watching her give the performance her all while they stood around lifelessly playing gave the set a weird aesthetic that didn’t fit the overall vibe Vigo was attempting to create.

Regardless the power of Kate Vigo’s vocal prowess makes her a force to be reckoned with and with her penchance for penning whimsical pop tunes combined with her beguiling presence, her star is set to rise this year. Keep an eye out for her upcoming LP that is due for release in Spring.