Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Live Review: Agerskow, Morden Tower, Newcastle, 16/03/2013

It's taken a while, but this week has finally seen a debut release from Agerskow, the creative alias of Yorkshire-born, Newcastle-based songwriter Kate Edwards. A double A-side featuring the tracks "This Train Terminates" and "Fast Hands," the single is the culmination of two years of work and acclaim, both of which have established the former Brilliant Mind member among the finest up-and-coming artists the North East has to offer. It's also one thoroughly deserving of its own launch night - something it was granted with this special gig in the intimate confines of Newcastle's Morden Tower; a turret in medieval city wall, packed to capacity with an audience of around 40.

As it happened, Edwards' first notes came not during her own performance but that of Morris Ford, the Gateshead-based singer-songwriter who opened proceedings. Providing harmonic backing to Ford's fragile falsetto, her contributions were a gorgeous, albeit inessential compliment to a set which excelled from the off, and what's more reached its peak with a handful of new, untested songs. Nev Clay, a rather more travelled local also impressed, his sprightly persona keeping the crowd entertained both between and mid-song, not to mention proving completely at odds with Ford's more withdrawn approach.

In spite of the strong supporting caste, this was a night which belonged primarily to Agerskow, who along with the aforementioned pair aired a handful of the tracks Edwards has amassed since establishing the project. Aided by bassist John Edgell and drummer Narbi Price, these folk-tinged pop tunes nevertheless retained their minimal and to an extent DIY charm, echoing the subtle perfection of early Belle & Sebastian whilst channeling the types of lovelorn sentiments often associated with Sharon Van Etten, among others. Each and every one is a gem in its own right, though tonight's highlight arguably came at its conclusion with the strikingly beautiful "Meet Me At The Market Cross." A heartbreaking document of doomed romance, it was simply a great end to a great night celebrating a great single in a great venue. Thumbs up!


"This Train Terminates" / "Fast Hands" is out now. You can download the single, or purchase a CD copy here.


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