It’s been one hell of a busy time at Mojo20 headquarters recently, which explains exactly why it’s taken so long to sit down and write this review, on the Kyla La Grange gig from early October. Despite the amount of time between now and then, it’s still a gig well worth talking about, mainly for the fact that she’s a fairly new artist, and is therefore naturally not going to be a familiar name to everyone, but she certainly should be. Her debut album was released in July 2012, and was featured in our Top 5 new releases of the week feature at Mojo20.com, and since then has become a personal favourite of ours, and through word of mouth we’ve spread the word and heard nothing but positive feedback. Her song writing is excellent, her ability to build atmosphere with her music is fascinating for someone who’s first single release was in 2011, and the presentation of her work through music videos and promotion is certainly eye-catching, but here, we find ourselves in the middle of a very different story.
The Bodega Social Club in Nottingham is a tiny place, and on first glance at the size of the venue, the stage & even
the bar, it’s hard to imagine how the club can cater to artists other than your usual pub/club dwelling bands and artists. But with a history of success and previous visits from the likes of The Klaxons, Arctic Monkeys, The National, MGMT, Feist, Florence & the Machine, Mystery Jets and loads more, the evidence is clear that with Kyla La Grange, The Bodega & Mojo20 in attendance, it’s going to be a great night.
The room proceeded to fill up from the beginning of the support acts and by the time she hits the stage, with her all male band behind her, she has gathered quite a crowd. She kicks things off, surprisingly with one of the stand out tracks from ‘Ashes’, ‘Woke Up Dead’.
The pace of the performance is set, but easily manipulated throughout the night by the front woman, who, with every song, alters the tempo dramatically. She continues through the set with other tracks from her debut album, and does so with an appreciative smile on her face, making it obvious that her tour is going exactly as she’d like so far. In between tracks, she attempts to talk to the audience, but even admits herself that public speaking and joke making are not her strongest skills. Not a problem, as with each song, she makes it perfectly obvious what her strongest skills are. ‘Walk Through Walls’ was done with an energy and power that couldn’t have been predicted. Despite being an anthem in its own right, and an incredible opening track to an album and a
career, it comes across so much more raw, and gritty when done right before your eyes. In the same way, the more down tempo, moody songs in the set, such as ‘Heavy Stone’ & ‘To Be Torn’, speak volumes more than on the record, and brilliant lyrics, become beautiful lyrics. Not to mention the band was tight throughout, and the more than accomplished musicians behind Miss La Grange were impressive in their own right, with no gimmicks (bar Kyla’s lack of footwear) and no-nonsense.
The most notable thing about the whole night, was when it was time for ‘Vampire smile’. Most could say this was the song that introduced them to Kyla, and personally it’s a favourite of mine. So for someone who could see the set list by the mic stand, I was getting pretty excited as we got closer to it. But from the front row, it was incredible what happened next. Throughout the night, Kyla La Grange had been charming, shy, smiling away and chatty at times between songs, but almost as soon as that initial drum beat to ‘Vampire Smile’ was struck, her face changed, and the mood changed, and the performance of the song felt more like a battle with a monster she created. She appeared upset, drained and on the verge of a break down. The reason for this i’ll never know, but the difference in her personality was huge, and the after effect lasted until a couple of songs later. Perhaps there’s an underlying meaning to the song that we don’t know, maybe I misunderstood it, but that was one of the most intimate and peculiar moments I’ve ever had at a live event.
So in closing, it was an amazing gig in a lot of different ways, and there really aren’t enough good things to say about Kyla La Grange; her album, her live performances and optimistically/hopefully her future. Also credit goes to the venue and I’m certainly looking forward to going back to The Bodega.
For more information on Kyla La Grange, check out one of the following: