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By Angela Macari-O'Looney
Heading down to 'Kennedys' on a frosty Tuesday night, to hear Miriam Ingram, I was a little unsure what to expect. Tuesday's are not usually very lively, no matter what venue you go to. I got there around nine, to find that there were already a good few there.
My first impression of this act was a powerful combination of sound effects, a silky smooth female voice and a song which reminded me of one or two of my favourite Goddesses of music. I consider myself a devotee of alternative sounds and this was yet another treat.
There was a sound check in progress when I arrived. I watched and listened, mesmerized by this fey-like creature in scarlet and black, with a crystal clear voice. A cello and trumpet were part of the ensemble, to lend interest to what I derived to be the beginning of a heady adventure!
Two girls were singing backing vocals, testing their mikes. The sound of the harmony was riveting with these weird discords going on. This was intentional and seemed to be the unique and original style of this band. It was a little disconcerting, but also very alluring. Miriam's own voice echoed around the room, as the group created a seamlessly new, exciting sound.
A guy with a Gibson Les Paul and a laptop did warm-up. As the place began to fill up with guests and the general public, all who entered turned their eyes and ears to the stage,
in total awe at the weird and wonderful sounds that this guy could achieve.
As Miriam and her band took to the stage, the first number was introduced. 'Winter' involved lots of piano with mysterious minor chords. Dramatic bass riffs also added to the mood. Then the vocals came in, haunting and angelic. The cello added a bit of drama too, giving a 'Phantom of the Opera' feel to the scene.
The trumpet solo was wonderful. I got the feeling something wasn't right with the sound. I couldn't hear the vocals at all. It sounded like the drums were drowning her out. I hoped someone would notice, besides me.
I was delighted to discover I wasn't imagining it, when Miriam announced that the monitor on the vocals was not turned up enough. She then joked a little and said it was the wrong mike she was using and apologised. Good. I wasn't going a bit mad!
'Trampoline' was the next number, where she played an acoustic guitar. One backing singer accompanied her with some beautiful harmony. Lots of bass guitar, a great big crescendo in the chorus and close harmony made it outstanding and enjoyable. The lyrics were sorrowful and touching.
The soft melodic voice of Miriam, lamenting to her audience was magical. Then she finished this song unaccompanied.
The third song of the evening was 'Control'. Four female singers now took their places onstage. I once sang with my sisters in a four-piece act and this brought a tear to my eye. This number was gorgeous and plucky, with a delightful intro played on Miriam's acoustic by the lead guitarist. The harmonies were lovely and these tiny little bells were played by Miriam, to give a bit of sparkle to the moment. It almost felt like we were all witnessing some kind of ritual, in an event that could be described as a coming together of spirits. This eerie feeling within each note kept my attention anyway.
The trumpet played a big fanfare at the end of this song and we were into the fourth number, 'Slow' introduced by Miriam as a cover of a group called 'The Idiots'. This was more of a rock/indie style with an exceptional input by the female cello player throughout. This seemed quite a difficult number to play, but it was executed with style and definitely impressed me!
There was a good beat to it, the verse was catchy, the chorus memorable. It finished with a BIG sustained chord.
'Mother' was an interesting piece of music, with beautiful lyrics and sweet enchanting cello. It was very deep and touching. Being a mother myself, I felt transported back to that strange and scary sensation that only a mother can feel when she has just given birth!
Beautifully and sensitively portrayed, it was sweet, note perfect and you could here a pin drop in the place!
The whole ensemble, especially the backing vocalists, must be commended on a most unique and memorable performance.
Earlier in the evening, I noticed Miriam running her finger around the rim of a wine glass. At last the realization of what she was up to occurred to me in the next number; 'Forever'. Before it began, she asked for her guitar turned up. Good on you, girl! This girl can play! Two of the other girls stepped up on either side of her and created this special effect, using wine glasses.
It gave this creepy sound to the number, along with a fabulous harmonic chorus. Trumpet played a solo; each instrument took a solo as the sound gradually built up. Then you got the FULL Monty! A tiny Xylophone, struck up a heavenly effect, bringing in another development into this distinctive piece of music.
'A is 4' is an upbeat, cheeky number with a concoction of short and sweet, sexy and spicy sounds to cheer you up. Before the final song, Miriam graciously thanked Ian McDonnell, the guy who performed the hi-jinx with guitar and lap-top as a warm-up.
She also thanked all of the people involved in the making of her new c.d., 'Trampolonica'. Then she finished with a very Enya-styled song called 'Slide'.
It sounded to me like she kept her favourite and best till last! There was lots of distortion used in the lead guitar, giving a very rock feel to things. And yet the trumpet came in with a long, sustained note, to bring you back into the amazing CHORUS! Choppy, up-tempo, with keyboards doing some gorgeous riffs, not to mention that delicious cello.
The bass got to show off a little too and I decide that this was a good choice of song to end the night on!
A lovely finishing touch was when Miriam exited the stage, leaving the musicians to have the limelight for the final bars of the final song.
The whole evening was brought to a close on a BIG TRUMPET FANFARE! Long, weird notes on bass and lead guitars, reminded us they were still there and I have to conclude that this has to have been THE Single most original act I've seen since Kate Bush, Toyah Wilcox, or Enya. Cheers Miriam &Co!
|Review written by: By Angela Macari-O'Looney --|