Under the brim of his hat, one might find not just a head, but a labyrinth of the unconscious, where repressed desires and unspoken thoughts intertwine, revealing the complex tapestry of the human psyche.
Sarah and Toby, two of the four band members of Low Girl, quietly take the stage tonight and start their entrancing set with slowly strummed chords and a heartbeat drum rhythm. This evolves into rhythmic fingerpicking as Sarah begins to sing. Initially soft, almost sotto voce, with gentle consonants and rounded vowels, her delivery grows more confident with each song. The sound is mesmerizing, with repetitive, resonant rhythms and a serious, sensitive mood. Toby, confidently playing complex harmonic structures on the keys, adds depth. The use of triplets brings texture and emotional richness to the enchanting opening.
Sarah’s vocals, beautiful, sonorous, and sweet, blend perfectly with the soft, repeated chords in the background. Skillfully executed guitar solos crescendo to a discordant finale, interspersed with a cappella sections that showcase Sarah’s gentle, pure, and evocative tone, which grows richer and more dynamically varied as she warms up.
Musically and collaboratively, Sarah remains focused while Toby is constantly looking and checking, aiming for communication and cohesion. Their combined sound is fluid, intense, and moving, highlighting Sarah’s perfect tuning and Toby’s skilled musical orchestration, especially evident in “Blessing.”
The performance was reminiscent of one of those old Notting Hill happenings; you know the kind. The sort of little event where you might find Marc Bolan surrounded by incense sticks and singing of a Chateau In Virginia Waters, whilst Steve Peregrine Took beats out a rhythm on the bongos or gently taps the pixiephone.
Illuminated by a warm, amber glow, Sarah introduces a new song that Toby has had only a few days to learn. Here, Sarah demonstrates the powerful range of her voice, from fortissimo to subito piano. Time signature changes, suspended and diminished chords, and a flurry of repeated semi-quavers bring their highly enjoyable set to a close.
Post-show, Sarah shares that songwriting and performing are ways for her to process difficult experiences. Having had a tough year, she’s learning to be more optimistic. Having met at university, they now live together and hold a special affection for The Lexington, with Sarah calling it her ‘favourite’ venue.
We at 1st 3 Magazine were captivated by their ethereal yet gutsy, heartfelt performance tonight. Their introspective energy, combined with beautiful harmonies and melodies, was expertly and humbly shared with us, making for a truly enjoyable listening experience.
With a shout out of “I’m stoked for this show!” Dekker starts his hugely enjoyable set with a high-pitched exultation and a lively shaking of maracas…
Kicking off with “I Think” and “The Love,” he contemplates—oh so profoundly—the elusive, indecipherable essence of love. His audience, comfortably mellow and visibly content, is treated to an unexpectedly long playlist. Songs like “Small Wins,” “Tethered Wrapped Around,” and “Back and Forth” flow seamlessly, each one a little showcase of his hopeful, personal, and oh-so-lyrical style.
Then comes “Hero Myth,” continuing the serene vibe with shakers, a kick drum, and snare, blending in some ethereal whispers. It’s all about the inner turmoil of battling self-doubt while maintaining a facade for the world—quite the existential crisis, right?
It’s almost as if Dekker is serenading himself with his thought-provoking, rhythmically pleasing tunes, and we’re just there for the ride. And about that ever-present hat hiding his face? Maybe it’s a hint that he really is singing more for himself than us. After all, who needs facial expressions and eye contact in live performances? That’s so mainstream. Instead, Dekker chooses to communicate through the resonance, repetition, and relational experiences of his songs, passionately belted out.
By this point, the Lexington is packed; the crowd is totally into it. They truly are his people—dancing, smiling, nodding in massive appreciation of Dekker’s melodious, harmonious tunes.
‘Maybe October’ begins with its simple, warm chords and impressive percussive beats, hinting at a rich optimism for change and better times ahead.
As Dekker’s set winds down, we are content, having seen through the hat—the facade or superficial aspects of performance—to the genuine artistry beneath. We’re left reflecting on the rich complexity of his music: a woven tapestry of percussion, melody, and lyrics, all conveying messages of hope, love, and friendliness. It’s been a journey of choosing a path and steadfastly walking it, offering a hypnotic, cathartic, and ultimately enlightening and rejuvenating musical experience.
DEKKER played The Lexington, Islington onNovember 19th 2023
Support from LOW GIRL
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