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ram jam

Last Week... Leo Napier in The Ram Jam - 17th March '18

By carysmegansound

Last week in The Ram Jam venue at The Grey Horse there were a couple of firsts. On Friday at the Crack Comedy event, there was not only a trombone and a squash-turned-instrument with a carrot mouthpiece played as part of a comedy set, but we had a few new faces on the scene in the form of Leo Napier and The Fever on Saturday.

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The group's set covered an incredibly vast range of genres and styles, showcasing the vocal talent of Leo and versatility of all members. They performed renditions of classic songs familiar to the audience but with a modern-twist, such as Lean on Me and Use Me by Bill Withers, but also put a Blues/Funk take on more modern songs including a very clever cover of Passin' Me By by Pharsyde. 

Source:  facebook.com

Source: facebook.com

Leo's background and influences similarly cover a plethora of styles; he grew up across LA and London, eventually settling back in the US and according to his bio on leonapier.com, there was always music playing around the family home in the form of artists such as Al Green, Miles Davis, Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin. You could hear the influence his musical interests have in his original songs as well as his choice of covers, you wouldn't have expected to hear rapping in the set performed in the Ram Jam on Saturday if you didn't know Leo!

The 4 of them were one super tight unit, the band knowing exactly what Leo wanted by just a simple flick of his wrist. What really struck me was the fact that without the lyrics, the covers performed were barely recognisable because of how originally they had been arranged and in most cases, the instrumental parts re-written. It was refreshing to hear these songs performed so differently!

Leo Napier and The Fever in the Ram Jam

Leo Napier and The Fever in the Ram Jam

One of the notes I wrote for myself on the night simply says "The Grooviest" - not that I exactly needed reminding. You couldn't help but feel the music they were playing, every part complimented another and each drop to a new groove added another dimension to the song. The crowd grew throughout the set till the end when it was standing-room only, and there were compliments being thrown around the room from one person to another because they were a fantastic Saturday Night Surprise. At around 11.45 they asked how many more songs they could play and the answer was simply "as many as you like" because everyone was just loving the whole experience.

Have a listen to Leo's EP Mind Up below!

Keep an eye out on Leo's website which you can find here for upcoming tour dates and for more information, or check out his Facebook for regularly updated info on his antics.

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Open Mic Night in the Ram Jam Club - 21st Feb '18

By carysmegansound

If you’re looking for music in Kingston, there’s pretty much always something going on. Whether you want to buy some music from Banquet Records or watch some at The Fighting Cocks, The Hippodrome or The Grey Horse, there’ll be something for you. This week’s Open Mic Night in the Ram Jam at The Grey Horse showcased a vast and eclectic mix of performers, making it one of RJ’s busiest Open Mic events to date!

There were a few particularly stand-out acts, including BBC Introducing performer Jack Grace who had just popped in after a University of Kingston Alumni gig at The Rose Theatre. 

Jack Grace performing in The Ram Jam

Jack Grace performing in The Ram Jam

Bournemouth-born and raised, I overheard Jack explaining to an audience member that he grew up in Folk clubs in the South-West and it’s clear to see this Folk and Soul influence in his songwriting and singing style. What really turned my head was the power in his voice. When he sang out, his voice was completely controlled and filled every crevice in the room, which was a beautiful contrast to the quieter parts of the songs. Jack managed to completely silence the venue with this technique. His songs were largely melancholy but more than that, they had an almost cathartic feel to them. It was a pleasant surprise to have Jack and I know for a fact that he left a lasting impression on many people.

 

Below is one of the songs he played on the night and one of my personal favourites, Clocks.

Another Folk and Soul influenced act from the night was the acoustic duo ‘The Beare Sisters’. 

The Beare Sisters performing in The Ram Jam

The Beare Sisters performing in The Ram Jam

The girls had a similar vibe to them as Swedish act First Aid Kit, utilising similar harmonies, but were more R’n’B than Country. They describe themselves as “Bringing soft, sweet, acoustic R'n'B tunes to you all” and that perfectly sums up their act. They began with a beautiful and unique rendition of Rock With You by Michael Jackson and ended on a few originals. What particularly intrigued me about their music was their use of space; they used both the guitar and their voices sparingly, leaving the listener to take in the sound for that little bit longer and reflect on it. This technique leaves the girls very open and vulnerable, which I felt enhanced the emotions of the audience.

 

 

Below is one of the songs played on the night, titled Girls.

The night ended with Surrey-based band HydroCell. Early-2000s Indie bands such as The Strokes heavily influence the group’s music, and they particularly reminded me of The Libertines. However they also had a strong rock influence, particularly in parts without the distinct indie-sounding Stratocaster.

Hydrocele on stage in The Ram Jam

Hydrocele on stage in The Ram Jam

Hydrocele commanded the stage and the music was well-crafted and fun, something people of all ages would be able to enjoy. At one point I had to pop out and just by the door swinging open, many intrigued customers in other parts of the pub pulled me aside to ask what was going on! The guys really looked like they were having fun and their playing reflected that. The confident group ended the night on a high and left the crowd buzzing!

Have a listen to their song Content With Concise below!

If you’d like to check out any music by the acts mentioned, or follow them on social media, here are some links for you:

Jack Grace - Facebook

The Beare Sisters - Facebook

The Beare Sisters - Soundcloud

Hydrocele - Facebook

Hydrocele - Website

 

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