The event included thirty-three artists who performed across the 29th/30th/31st of January and was free to watch, but donations were encouraged to raise money for the Birmingham venue and mental health charity, Mind. I caught some of the action over the weekend and enjoyed every second I watched.
I kicked off my Saturday by watching Matty George of Quentin Francis play some tunes with his guitar. He opened with “Work” which he said is one of their favourites to perform usually. My favourite of the set was probably “Nature”, I thought it was beautifully performed and is well-written.
The band have been writing during lockdown, although the writing process has changed because of having to do everything remotely, but they are going to release new material soon, the first of these new releases being “Molly” which is sounding unreal. They are definitely an act I want to see live in person when we are allowed.
I didn’t long wake up before watching this stream, perhaps a benefit to livestream fests, but it was definitely a great way to start my day. Matty did the rest of the band proud.
Graywave was probably the act I was looking forward to catching the most. Having seen her twice last year, I know she puts on a good show and I was not disappointed.
She started off with her debut single “Afternoon Escapism” and finished on her latest release, “Before” – both are tracks which I love to listen to on a regular basis. Her music makes me feel zen and in a time of great anxiety, this is a good getaway.
The stripped back version of “Like Heaven” she played was brilliant and really showed how vocally talented she is as well as musically. Her presence is also fantastic; she is funny and seems to be a lovely human. I hope she continues to show the world what she is made of.
Another act I was looking forward to checking out was Myriam Adams. I reviewed their recent EP not long ago and I was interested to see how they would do a stripped back set.
It was Freddie and Jacques from the band who took part and their setup was quite impressive. It all seemed very well prepared and practiced. Their material sounds wonderful when played acoustic, “Best Nude” in particular was a favourite of mine from the set.
“Por Ti” is heart-wrenchingly beautiful, makes me emotional, and was executed perfectly. They had a little audience of people they live with who were cheering and sang along to “I Want To Go Home”. It really added to an already fantastic performance.
Cherry Cherry was up next and it was Joseph and Ben who performed from their place in Central London. They had a great setup which really showed off how talented they are. A rim of a wine glass was even used to create an interesting tone in, “Coffee”.
My favourite song during the set was “Backseat”, I had a good dance in my bedroom to it. They put on a good show which was sadly tainted by technical issues, not their fault, but is evidence of difficulties that can be faced during these livestreams.
I caught the beginning of The Novus‘ stream and I liked what I saw (and heard). To say I was surprised to have the full band on my screen is an understatement as the group looked to be performing from someone’s garage.
They were energetic, had good presence and I particularly liked song “Blinded By Fear.” Massive sound and I can imagine it filling up The Sunny, making the walls and staircase vibrate.
By the end of Saturday’s streams, the fundraising target had already been met and that was before a full Sunday of talented acts!
Hannah Brown was my first stream on the Sunday. I reviewed her single, “Hate Myself”, a couple of years ago and was looking forward to hearing her play live for the first time. She has a great voice and is definitely musically gifted.
What I like about her material, is that her lyrics are relatable and from the heart. “See It Now” is a good example of this. It is a song about accepting parts of yourself that you might find difficult to accept; something I think most people can relate to. I also enjoyed the elegant fingerpicking in “Stay” which had the power to transport you elsewhere.
She was good humoured, I think helped by having her housemates there to support her, and she did try to get them to sing along to final song, “Further Away”… I think they were shy.
Next was MARC, who is an artist I have been listening to for a while now but haven’t actually managed to see live yet. Which is a crime. He has great pipes and guitar skills, and perfectly recreated his material in acoustic form. It was good to hear.
“Go Get Away” – off his latest EP – sounded particularly nice but I also enjoyed slower track, “Fixated”, and its deep message. Despite the set being acoustic, you could still feel the solid rock vibes.
People are sleeping on Marc‘s talent and definitely need to check him out. He has brand new material coming out at some point this year too which is very exciting.
I loved Coventry artist, YNES‘ set. It was a show that many punk-pop legends would be proud of as she performed her heart out. She seemed a little nervous but she certainly had no reason to be. She smashed it.
Kicking off with “Im(Mature)”, I was immediately impressed by her versatile voice. She can do the punk chanty tones well but also can really sing. I particularly enjoyed “Five Minutes Time” and her cover of Billy Bragg‘s “To Have and To Have Not.”
When she sings, she gets emotional as she lets the music takeover which shows how much it matters to her. I love her lyricism and her look… I’m just really looking forward to hearing more from YNES.
Singer-songwriter Sam Lambeth heroically stepped in for Cigarette Social Club who sadly had to cancel due to illness. He has a lovely voice and wonderfully delicate guitar style, he also gave the harmonica playing his all. Considering how last minute he stepped in, he did a great job and sounded amazing. I particularly enjoyed song, “Time Stands Still”.
The final act of the weekend was Neil from Blue Nation who generously offered to match any donations made during his set. I could tell from hearing him speak how much The Sunflower Lounge means to him and his band, which was lovely to hear.
He seems a lovely chap and was great at communicating with the viewers in between numbers. I especially liked songs “She’s A Storm” and “I Feel Low” – which is yet to be recorded but is an absolute tune. “Cold Night” struck me as a track perfect for these times.
One of the great things about this weekend of music was that I discovered artists I had never listened to before, and Blue Nation is one of those artists. They are a band I will have to properly check out.
You can go back and watch the sets, I really recommend it, and if you want to donate you can do here. An amazing £1,510 was raised – smashing the target!
Big love to all of the acts involve! Thank you Birmingham Promoters, Indie Midlands and Sunflower Lounge for organising such a great event.