By Ed Jones
I had the opportunity to see Kyla La Grange last year in Bristol but due to uni work and lack of money, I had to cancel, a shame, but I didn’t think I’d be missing out too much. How wrong I was when I finally managed to see her last week at Oval Space in London. The first thing that struck me as I got to the venue was how nice and welcoming it felt; the atmosphere was friendly and inviting. The venue itself is strange, the whole room is basically just one big white space, with lights bouncing off every wall, but that added to the chilled nature of the night.
Of the three bands that played on the night, newcomers Pixel Fix were easily the worst, a fairly generic indie/boy band type, whose sound was only interesting on the last song, when they played with elements of noise rock. But on the whole they weren’t particularly interesting and I’ve already forgotten all of the songs they played.
After Pixel Fix underwhelmed me and I realised it was too cold to stand outside and smoke, I felt a little bit apprehensive about second support act Jagaara, another band I’d never heard of before the show. But fortunately they were incredible and I wholeheartedly recommend you check them out whenever you can. Their sound is reminiscent of Kyla’s original sound; very big on guitars and crashing drums and lead vocalist J has a brilliant range; soft and breathy when it needs to be, but incredibly powerful. On a side note, she’s lovely as I had a fairly long chat with her after her set, which does always warm me to a band more when they’re friendly and approachable afterwards.
Eventually Kyla La Grange came on and proceeded to destroy all my expectations of her. I thought she would be good, but I didn’t think she’d be that good. After blasting through two monumentally uplifting songs (which unfortunately I didn’t know the names of) she followed on with two stunning renditions of Cut Your Teeth and To Be Kind, and from then on I was sold. Her style has changed a lot since I first came across her four years ago with Vampire Smile, (which she did a beautiful acoustic version of) and I’ve always kept her on my radar, even though I wasn’t too big on her first album. But since the release of Cut Your Teeth in 2014, with a new synth-based sound, I became a lot more interested in her. She reminds me somewhat of St. Vincent in terms of lyricism and charisma, with a similar, if slightly shyer, stage presence.
The rest of her set was as entertaining and moving as the first five songs, and ended with the bang in the form of Cannibals, which for my money is one of the most intense performances of a song I’ve heard all year, it was electrifying, especially with the added guitars and drums that go with a live performance. Much like Jagaara, if you do get a chance to go and see La Grange, I 100% recommend you do, I came away surprised at just how incredible it was.
Verdict – WWWW