I arrived at The Borderline in high spirits; the energy of a Friday evening in Soho is always intoxicating. Tucked away on Manette Street, The Borderline is the ideal music venue to showcase the talent that greeted me and my fellow gig-goers within.
FØNX was handed the responsibility of kicking the night off. His latest single ‘Can’t Get Enough’ earned its place as one of our Tracks of the Week last month. Alas, he didn’t grace us with a performance of it on the night. This was mainly down to him being without his band. It was just him and his guitar, but this didn’t affect his performance at all. His rhythm and lead playing on his Fender Jazzmaster was mesmerising. On his opening number ‘Don’t Feel Like Lovin” he displayed a great adeptness on his loop pedal which continued throughout the night. His soulful vocal, intricate guitar work and looping abilities working in perfect harmony. Amidst the funky guitar shuffles of ‘Complex’ and chilled soulful vibes of ‘Come On Over’ his set was full of humour. Between jokes about checking his emails on his Mac and losing his band on the way to the venue, he let the music do the talking. The evening was off to a great start.
By comparison, Jords added a completely different flavour to the night. He was also on his own, but for his manager/producer hitting play on his backing tracks and nodding his head in the corner as they played. Jords is a rapper with a lively energy and lyrical inspirations typical of an up-and-coming hip-hop artist; mainly race, money, friends and making it in music. He rhymed about standing out from the crowd on ‘The Drive’ and syncs up seamlessly with the female vocal backing on ‘Cloud 99’. He broke free from the mic stand on his new single ‘Working Too Hard’ on which he channels his R&B side and expresses the consequences of chasing a breakthrough, but that this is what he loves and what he wants to do. He was a nice contrast to have between FØNX and Nia, but ultimately it lacked the memorable qualities which the others offered.
Nia Wyn injected rock ‘n’ roll into the night’s finale. She is a prime example of big surprises coming in small packages. Together with her band, she is a formidable musical force. Her vocal is not dissimilar from Paloma Faith’s, channelling it into funk, swing and rock in a veritable cocktail of captivating performance. ‘Mama Don’t’ served as a powerful bluesy intro to her set soon followed by her first single ‘Help Me’ which took on new life in the live arena with the full band who displayed tight musicianship.
However, Nia can hold her own and draw you in without her fellow bandmates. On the tender ‘Blue Eyes’ bassist, Joao, and drummer, EJ, took a breather while guitarist, Seb accompanied Nia with a steel slide for the full country effect. But when Nia went completely solo on ‘Best Friends’ I was completely transfixed by her enchanting performance. There are so many sides to her music which made for a memorable headline set.
Her new single ‘Northern No Soul Town’ went down well with the crowd. So much so that by the end we were all calling for more. This is no surprise to them I’m sure, they were prepped and ready to give us a spirited finale of ‘Do You Love Enough’.
Nia Wyn is an artist everyone needs to experience; she’s a dose of something different taking influences from a variety of genres which results in a performance unlike any other.
Talented artists who deserve wider recognition
A gig rich with diverse styles and admirable musicianship
Nia and her band performed a memorable headline set
Connect with the artists
https://www.fonxmusic.com/ – all his social links are available here.
https://www.niawynmusic.com/ – all her social links are available here.