Under the Radar: BBC Introducing the South’s first installment of a new monthly showcase comes to Hastings
Dreamy, but danceable, TEEFF is a one-woman production house – creating tunes, programming lightshows, and delivering an enthralling live show packed full of vocal prowess and sequenced music that has instant hit-appeal.
Not that being a ‘hit’ defines good music any more of course.
It’s always been the case that plenty of great songs existed off the radar – but these days it seems that most of the really good music stays as far away from being tainted by the charts as it can.
Having said all that TEEFF’s material does run the risk, if she’s not very careful, of actually selling in the popular market…especially in a climate where the record-buying public seem to have more affinity with solo acts than ever before.
Not only does she have an ear for a tune and a knack of writing songs that hit home, but she also understands how to create a visually interesting show. By simply hanging four naked light bulbs from mic stands and triggering them with the music TEEFF brought the back room of Hastings’ The Palace instantly to life.
TEEFF has a master-plan up her sleeve too. It involves her forthcoming EP, and it will make use of 240 gold teeth which she has hand-crafted for that purpose.
And in case you were wondering, TEEFF is how Margate natives pronounce ‘teeth’.
What stood out about the crowd for tonight’s show was not just that they all arrived in time for the start of the night, but also the huge age range represented. Right down at the front were students from Hastings Academy aged in their low teens, but in amongst them were the gnarled and bearded faces of music fans well past retirement age.
And everyone was equally engaged with the music.
Whether or not it’s unique to this town is hard to say – but certainly there’s an older generation in this heartland suburb of the newly dubbed ‘music city’ that is Hastings and Rother who are totally open to new artists and genres.
Perhaps it’s not surprising, therefore, when you learn that local jazz vocalist Leane Carroll was once in a successful live drum’n’bass band.
The only surprise then was that she wasn’t down at The Palace to see Dark Matta – who nominally headlined a night where only the toss of a coin could be used to decide which act should top the bill.
Dark Matta hail from Eastbourne – internationally known (not) as being the spiritual home of DnB. The tight-knit five-piece wove a tapestry of live drums and vocals across a backdrop of samples and turntable trickery and push the small but powerful Palace PA to its limits – to the evident annoyance of the venue’s upstairs neighbours.
They’ve been on the BBC Introducing ‘ones to watch’ list for a while now – check out this live library session from last year.
Over that time they have honed their sound and developed a serious amount of stage presence. Their accessible catalogue means they’re no stranger to radio airplay, and the exciting live show has seen them play regularly across the region as headliner, at festivals and as support to established acts.
Sandwiched between these two great acts is the equally talented Damien Soul.
Soul by name and soul by nature, Damien’s vocal style is impassioned and heartfelt.
With sax-backing from Richard Anstey, Damien Soul worked through a set of originals and covers that had the audience rapt with attention and admiration for the way in which his timeless influences are reworked to create a unique sound. There’s more than a nod to the Motown greats, a hint of Robert Plant’s range and abandon, and the introspective wistfulness of Nick Drake.
This was a truly fantastic night of music of the highest standard.
The Palace looks set to establish itself as a regular live space for bands to perform. Its back room is the perfect size for intimate shows, and the huge choice of beers at the bar will keep people coming back for more.
For the next Under The Radar event make sure you have 20 April firmly marked in your gig calendar.
BBC Introducing The South will be bringing Sam Wills (Hastings), Hayley Ross (Brighton), and Jacob Aaron (Worthing), to The Palace.
Sam came to the team’s attention with the original soulful songs he uploaded to BBC Introducing. They caught him playing live at the Great Escape Festival and invited him in for a stunning session in the Live Lounge, and he recently went down a storm at Hastings Fat Tuesday.
Sam’s playing a set of original songs – check out his “So Bright” EP here.
Hayley’s atmospheric music has ben compared to “shades of Mazzy Star, Beth Orton & First Aid Kit, done in the style of a David Lynch soundtrack” and her debut EP ‘Fierce Love’ is out now, with an album just recorded. Hayley played a spine-tingling Live Lounge set on BBC Introducing the South in 2016.
Check out her track ‘Barracuda’ and hear for yourself why BBC 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne picked it as her headphone moment.
Jacob’s unique take on r’n’b and his insightful lyricism caught the BBC’s ears a few years back and his tracks have been a regular appearance on the show.
Here’s a sample of his BBC Introducing The South Live Lounge performance: