Artistry in Sound and Motion
The first thing we noticed as we waited outside No 2 Hall at London’s magnificent arts and culture venue Kings Place, was the diversity of our fellow gig-goers who were as keen and excited as we were to experience this original ensemble of musicians calling themselves Orlando Seale and the Swell. People of all ages, sizes and looks mingled in the spacious bar area in a buzz of eager anticipation.
This performance is part of a weekly series of concerts called Folk Union which seeks to give artists from emerging and established backgrounds a platform to present traditional and contemporary music of the highest quality.
When the signal to go in was finally given, we formed an orderly queue and filed into the hall, which was devoid of seating, except for three or four rows with a dozen neatly lined chairs to the left of the stage, which we soon learned had been reserved for the elderly and less able individuals who would not be able to endure two hours standing. We stood at the front very close to the stage, which was darkened except for a large screen showing moving images of London with a very interesting soundscape, a fusion of electronic sounds with reverbed voices. Not far behind us, we noticed a certain Josie Lawrence.
Orlando Seale and the Swell – Lost and Keeper (Encore) Kings Place 10 May 2013
Special thanks to LondonRocks2008 (Vivienne Drewett) for this video.
After what seemed like an eternity the lights in the hall dimmed, and the screen was raised to hushed whispers of excitement among the crowd. The band members slowly filled the stage, one, two, three, we counted nine, and then the tenth, Orlando Seale himself, who took centre stage right in front of us.
Without much pomp or ceremony, the band launched into their first song, ‘Running Through the Trees’, which was marked by a military drum beat accompanied with violas, cello, and flute, which were soon joined by guitars, bass, synth and Orlando’s distinctive vocals, very reminiscent of David Byrne, and some very infectious harmonies and choruses. The second song, ‘Lost and Keeper’, featured a very haunting oboe and flute, and as the song unfolded, more instruments and voices joined in, always marked by resonant drums and intricate sounds from the electric guitar and synth.
Orlando Seale and the Swell are a musical machine of extraordinary versatility and originality, with fresh songs which are as light-hearted and heartfelt as they are dark and verging on the macabre, but always uplifting, and euphoric. The band members are young professional musicians who play with credible orchestras such as The Southbank Sinfonia Orlando himself is an accomplished actor and this is evident in his songs as well as his own stage performance.
The band played two 45 minute sets with passion, enthusiasm and supreme professionalism. During the second set, the 10 members soon became 12 with the addition of horns.
Orlando Seale and the Swell represent the very best original emerging music of the moment, and although they have had record deals on the table, they have chosen to do things their own way, confirming the changing landscape of the music business where the once omnipotent music conglomerates held all the power. Now the balance is shifting in a totally new direction, music lovers like me are continually treated to many opportunities to enjoy and get close to talented and creative musicians who thanks to technology and the Internet, are now able to create, produce and distribute their music to the masses without having to sell their soul to the once-powerful corporate monsters.
If you enjoy fresh unusual sounds, interesting lyrics, supreme musicianship and originality, I urge you to catch Orlando Seale and the Swell at a gig near you, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.