RCM favourite Gemma Rogers charms fans live at Paper Dress Vintage. Read Eden Tredwell’s live review.
Gemma Rogers Live Review
Most of my music consumption is done in my bedroom these days, through my laptop speakers, especially since That Thing That Happened In 2020. But when a gig invite comes and the sun is shining, who am I to refuse? That’s how I ended up in Paper Dress Vintage in Hackney on a Thursday night – a quirky little venue that is vintage clothes shop by day, bar and venue by night, and with its A-line dresses on the walls and haphazard fairy lights, it definitely has an eclectic charm. Which linked nicely with that evening’s headliner, Gemma Rogers.
Gemma Rogers is a London indie-pop artist who might be a familiar name to RCM readers, and tonight was the launch party for her album ‘No Place Like Home’, which managed to draw in a bustling crowd, as well as a support act in The Sound Of Modesty, a five-piece from Leeds. This young band showed promise and strong melodic sensibilities with their grunge rock sound, reminiscent of classic 90s bands like Nirvana and The Cranberries. Frontwoman Yvonne Han’s powerful, ranging voice and witchy dance moves were a particular highlight, along with the flying fingers of a lead guitarist who barely seemed to break a sweat.
After the intense energy of the support act, Gemma Rogers eased the tone with her completely natural, earthy charm – this is her strength, which brings her music into greater relief. Stepping up on stage with her backing band, she greeted us all casually, like old friends, and launched into ‘First World Problems’. The groove was infectious and showcased her Lily Allen-meets-Ian Dury style, with a dash of 80’s REM and Kim Wilde as well. It’s a good sign when the audience is dancing, and even the band seem to be genuinely having the best time. From there, Rogers sailed through her set, from the earnest ‘I’m In Love’ to the bluesy, stomping ‘Dance of A Thousand Faces’. Even when she missed a beat on ‘Good Day Bad Trip’, she cackled ‘I’ve f***cked it up’, continued acapella and jumped right back in with the band. The high point was perhaps the euphoric ‘Rabbit Hole’, where the audience joined in the chorus in ode to bad ideas on a good night out. If you’re looking for something completely polished, Gemma Roger’s raspy vocals and wry charm may not be for you, but if you get into the spirit, it’s a cracking night out.
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Photo credit Max Tollworthy @onstage_photos
Words Eden Tredwell