Catching London based band Gold Baby play live was by far the best thing about my recent birthday trip to London (along with having a great early bird meal at the Istanbul bistro attached to Great Portland Street tube). We had pre booked train tickets and hotel to see the magnificent Cage The Elephant so when they cancelled due to broken bones, we went new music exploring instead. Ha, the Spice Girls were not an option.

Gold Baby first appeared a little nervous on stage and I couldn’t help but wish it was busier for these early starters to give them a bit more stimulus, but we quickly picked out the fantastically clear voice of Sian Alex and the guitar complexity behind her. Drums made up the three piece and Sian later confirmed they had recently parted ways with a 4th band member. With the three, the music felt relaxed and a mix of folkish sensibilities with a harder edge. Those folks turning up later did miss something pretty special.

Gold Baby are named in honour of a Sylvia Plath poem so you just know from that there are going to be clever flowing lyrics and angst about the human condition. Live I got something of gentle goth folkies All About Eve. As Sian Alex says of their sound, it’s like Norah Jones writing a Weezer song. As the set progressed, even the pure voiced Irish traditionalist Mary Black came to mind.

Sian explained she worked with children and played them the 500/1 song, only for one to criticise the song as not being very deep. By contrast it feels pretty deep to this listener. That child was 1 in 500 indeed.

500/1 is a rather sorrowful tale of an older self revealing how things actually ended up to the innocent fresh 17 year old version just stepping into adulthood. As the more experienced version exclaims; “All I’ve learnt is duller ways to waste my time”. One of the beauties of the song is that it makes the listener think about what they themselves might say. I think mine would be “Chill, I’ve discovered you never really have to grow up” but I do have hippy (and possibly a full share of THC) running through my veins.

Overall, there’s a serious late night low key opening pace to Gold Baby’s 500/1 but it soon opens out and builds into a feel of unbridled frustration and shows just what sharp teeth this particular baby wields. The song offers a great introduction to Gold Baby; although they often play London making a live experience tricky for we northern based folks, it’s worth discovering the recorded form at least.

Chris R

Photo Credit: sarah.rose.currie

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