Arthur Beatrice LIVE @ Cargo – 11th December 2013

There’s a lot to be said for a band that purposely evades the hype they attracted from their critically acclaimed debut single ‘Midland’.

Choosing creative perfection over press adoration, Arthur Beatrice retreated to their studio to further hone their production skills and work on their first full length Working Out, which is due out early next year.

That reflective period has resulted in the now well-polished four piece playing to an intimate but sizable crowd at East London’s Cargo.

The London based, indie-pop four-piece made up of Orlando Leopard (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards) Ella Girardot (lead vocals, keyboard) and brothers Elliot (drums) and Hamish Barnes (bass and backing vocals), formed Arthur Beatrice back in 2010 and have since been the subject of sometimes accurate, sometimes outlandish comparisons. From The XX, to David Bowie and Warpaint, it’s clear that Arthur Beatrice are a band that people are eager to file away into the familiar.

Although I’ve got no comparisons of my own to add to the already extensive list, I will say that having supported some of my favourite bands over the last couple of years, Metronomy and The Antlers to name a few, it was inevitable that I would be seduced by their enchanting live performance.

Following two pretty impressive sets from supports IYES and Cymbals, Arthur Beatrice humbly took to the stage and opened things up with the mesmerising Carter. Effortlessly cruising through their sexy harmonies, vocalists Orlando Leopard and Ella Girardot are a tonal pairing not to be contended with.

Rising from the adversity that is every live performers nightmare, Arthur Beatrice powered through their ongoing technical problems just in time to deliver their debut single Midland.

After being unable to pry this song from the continuous loop that it had occupied in my head in recent weeks, it was a relief to finally hear it live in all its glory. And to put it simply, they smashed it. As Girardot’s incredible vocal range reverberated throughout the underground tunnel space, the audience mouthed along to the lyrics and nodded their heads in unison as the catchy hook “I’ll never move, I’ll never move, I’ll always be so still” absorbs the crowd.

Basking in two bright beams of white and yellow light, which descended on Girardot with a halo like effect, it was almost impossible not to make angelic comparisons and by the time they’d begun the hauntingly beautiful first bars of Fairlawn I was convinced the stars had aligned to make this most perfectly serene moment.

In the rare moments that Ella interacts with the crowd and speaking only to thank everyone for coming and to introduce the occasional track, Girardot’s timid and mostly inaudible hushed tones seem to convey the bands humbleness and gratitude to their fans.

Taking things up a notch for the finale, Arthur Beatrice treat the audience to an extended ‘jam-fest’ with Grand Union which managed to get even the most conservative looking folks shaking their heads and hips to the beat. The funky bass line and crashing cymbals uplifted the crowd and for an almighty end to the show.

Overall, if you appreciate an amalgamation of folk infused indie-pop with carefully constructed instrumentals then Arthur Beatrice need to be on your live wish list for next year.

And if this seems like an overly biased review then that’s certainly what this is. You’ve got me. I will unashamedly admit I’m well and truly smitten  – In fact I’m already pre-ordering their album as I type this. You should be doing the same.

Rachel Akiboye

Rachel Akiboye

Rachel Akiboye

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