Spending Thursday nights at Moles has been one of the most consistent parts of my life this past year. From watching my mate’s band play in front of ten people and a dog, to seeing sold out shows from acts who are on the cusp of big festival slots and headline tours; I just love the atmosphere and immediacy of live music. This week, it’s EMiRAE to take the stage to launch their debut EP Reckless, alongside support acts JT Leon and The Miracle Run.
It’s Thursday night and I’m back at Moles, paying the entry fee with what little change I can muster from my wallet, heading down the stairs to the stage. Now, I’m ready to have my mind blown all over again.
First up we have JT Leon, an experimental solo artist with a sound soaked in 80s synth-pop and industrial dance. His music is deep, dramatic and truly atmospheric. But, amidst all of this powerful electronica, the first thing I notice about JT’s performance is that he’s got more stage presence than most four or five-piece bands.
He is completely invested in every action he takes, moving with purpose and conviction, feeling every lyric as passionately as he sings them. Utilising various vocal effects pedals, synth lead parts and programmed beats all live on the spot, is what makes JT Leon a true force to reckoned with in such an intimate environment.
JT’s lyrical prowess also shines on his track ‘Sex Symbol’. With lines such as ‘If it’s not too much to ask, I’d like to dance within you’ and ‘Less body talk, more like body scream’, he entices the audience into his world, while piercing synthesisers bring them sharply back to reality. Needless to say, by the time JT Leon reaches the end of his set, finishing with his debut single ‘Closet Case’, everyone is well and truly fired up for what the rest of the night holds.
Next up we have The Miracle Run. This alt-rock three-piece have only been together for a few months, but already have a natural energy on stage which is necessary to carry their aggressive and, at times, almost feral guitar sound.
A melting pot of modern indie-rock bands spring into mind when I hear these guys. The soaring top lines are reminiscent of Catfish and The Bottlemen, the riff driven grooves echo Jaws combined with noisy, untamed breakdown sections that bands like Foals are so famous for.
Guitarists Callan Croft and Dylan Osafo have no issue creating such an eclectic live sound. They vibe off of each other for the entire set, moving with an ethereal grace around their amplifiers and operating like surgeons on their respective pedal boards.
Lest we forget drummer Isaac Flower who drives the band with complex rhythm patterns that keep the audience constantly engaged. One only reaches this level of technical ability on the drums through hours and hours of hard practice, and those hours certainly pay off when the crowd is hanging off your every fill.
Keep up with The Miracle Run on their Facebook page.
Finally, we have EMiRAE, a synth-pop four-piece band who take influence from artists such as London Grammar, Daughter and The xx. Their instrumental intro piece builds layers of sound that engulfs the audience’s attention and draws us into EMiRAE’s world, with guitarist Josh Thomas pushing his instrument as far as it will audibly go delivering powerful, effects-laden lines. As with the opener JT Leon, atmosphere is by far the order of the day with this band.
The really interesting thing I see in this band however, is the contrast between the rhythm section, the lead guitar and vocals. For example, on the band’s debut single ‘Tell Me What You’re Gonna Say’, the dark, brooding bass lines (echoing Peter Hook in his New Order days), provided by Jack Valla and drummer Thomas Crabb’s deep rhythms, create the perfect canvas for Faye Dolle (vocals, keys) and Josh Thomas (guitar) to paint their uniquely emotive and ethereal sound over. It’s almost as if they push each other to give that extra energy and passion when on stage, which is obviously a massive treat for everyone watching.
The final thing to say on this band is that one of the standout elements is definitely Faye Dolle’s voice. The haunting, soulful tone of this vocalist is so perfectly suited to the music, that her melodies seem to float peacefully over the grooves laid down by Valla and Crabb, but also melt and weave around the distorted reverb of Thomas’ guitar. She commands the stage without any grandiose movement instead, opting to be completely immersed in the deep, dark and brooding sound that EMiRAE creates so effortlessly.
And so, to the sweet sound of cheers and applause, the live music finishes. I walk back up the stairs to the bar, ready to celebrate the fact that I have just witnessed three fantastic performances which I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. That’s what Thursday night’s at Moles are all about for me, being able to see and experience something that very few people have the chance to. How incredibly lucky are we?
Words by Matt Banks
Featured Photo: “EMiRAE. Left to right. Jack Valla, Faye Dolle, Josh Thomas and Thomas Crabb.” © James Burwell Photography