Richer Unsigned returned for its second gig at The Pheasantry on London’s King’s Road earlier this week (15 July). The initiative to discover the UK’s best unsigned talent launched in April and more four of the acts who uploaded their tracks to Richerunsigned.com stood out to the Q panel: Innes, Ellis Palmer, Cowboy 76er, Gold Jacks and KynchinLay. Their reward was a slot at the second showcase gig. JJ Dunning was there to find out more about the artists and their music. Pictures James Emmett.
Who: Ines Krajnović, 30 (vocals and guitar) From: Zagreb, via Scarborough We say: Innes’ gentle and heartfelt acoustic pop songs tell stories of lost love and new beginnings. Her live band includes her dad, Tiho, who was once a member of one of Croatia’s biggest indie bands. They say: “My music is acoustic pop. I like pop. I like the production to be natural, with not too much going on. I’ve been encouraged to sing since a very young age by my father – my first time singing in public was to a crowd of 8,000 at a festival in Zagreb. I was only 11!” For fans of: Lene Marlin, Jewel, Aimee Mann
Who: Ellis Palmer, 19 (vocals and guitar) From: Norwich We say: Ellis’ voice is soulful and powerful, but not overbearing. The Norwich teenager’s smooth songs are more about vibe than vocal acrobatics. He hasn’t always been this relaxed, though: he used to be the frontman of a metal band. They say: “I love D’Angelo, Jill Scott and Django Reinhart, but I’m trying to push towards a neo-soul sound. I do my best to sound different, but some people have compared my voice to John Legend, which is a massive compliment because he’s amazing!” For fans of: Sam Sparrow, Finlay Quaye, John Legend
Who: Gary Sharp, 38 (vocals and guitar) From: Cambridge We say: Quiet, ambient acoustica indebted to early Badly Drawn Boy and Ryan Adams at his most hushed. Live, Gary is backed by an electric double bass and keyboard, both of which add to the melancholy of his sweet, simple songs. They say: “I love Dire Straits and the four great Stones albums; Let It Bleed, Beggars’ Banquet, Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main St. Lyrically, Bruce Springsteen is my hero. I think it’s really important to tell a story from start to end.” For fans of: Ryan Adams, Badly Drawn Boy, Ray Lamontagne
Who: Stu Burns, 27 (vocals and guitar), Liam Dunning, 27 (guitar), James Gaskell, 23 (drums) and Tom Smith, 27 (bass). From: Manchester We say: Groove-heavy indie anthems in the vein of early Black Keys. Guitarist Liam’s growling, garage-rock-inspired riffs are offset by frontman Stu’s rich, soulful voice, which occasionally recalls Stereophonics’ Kelly Jones. They say: “We grew up listening to and loving The White Stripes, Northern Soul and Motown, so we started the band to mould a garagey lo-fi sound with more of a soul twist. We think our music is perfect for festivals.” For fans of: Black Keys, Miles Kane, all things Jack White
Who they are: Kevin Wilson, 40 (guitar and vocals), Mal Williams, 39 (bass), Damien Welsh, 38 (drums). From: Liverpool We say: Ska and new wave rock-inspired trio. Their unusual name comes from two bits of Dickens; "kynchin" meaning 'street kid', used by the author to describe Oliver Twist, to whom Fagin teaches the art of the "lay", or ‘steal’. They say: “[Stone Roses biographer] John Robb reviewed our recent EP, and he reckons it sounds like early Bunnymen, which is high praise. The EP is all about the production, but live it sounds very different, it’s all about energy." For fans of: The Dead 60s, Echo & The Bunnymen, Twisted Wheel
Read a full review of the gig in a future issue of Q. For more information on Richer Unsigned, in association with Q, visit Richerunsigned.com.