In recent months I have really been enjoying Sunday gigs, of the chilled variety, to sort of wind down from the stresses of our fast-paced lives as a student and I’m really loving it. Sunday seems to be the day for all the very best offerings of Leeds’s Soul and Jazz.
Opening the gig stood an intriguing Chia Kali with her fabulous glittering guitar and her giant moon earrings. It soon became apparent, with her song titles, that much of her inspiration came from celestial energies such as the moon which I found to add a further ethereal dimension to her as an artist. Her timid and sweet persona set the evening off to a truly wholesome night of female musical talent. Evidently a little nervous given a few hiccups, her endearing energy, sweet vocals, and fabulous guitar still proved her to be a great support act. Her monologue style of song delivery strongly reminded me of Little Simz’ music, except with a touch more sweetness and bluesy guitar undertones. Chia is undoubtedly a skilful guitarist as well as vocalist, something which I know largely from the chatter in the smoking area afterwards, that much of the room was in awe of this. Her music seemed fresh and endearing, so I certainly look forward to following her music in future.
Second in the line-up was the wonderful Jasmine Oakley – who’s name I had seen on the poster a week prior to the gig and was immediately set on going to see her. I had previously caught her at Brudenell social club as she supported Jazz-band ‘Mamilah’ a month or so ago and was in awe of her from her first song, so I was eager to see her again. She certainly did not disappoint. A perfect choice to play alongside Bel Cobain and Chia Kali – three artists whose music shared ethereal and soulful qualities, yet each brought something uniquely captivating to the floral dressed stage. Jasmine Oakley’s bubbly and relatable energy shone through in both her music, and her song introductions which brought a warm sense of unity to the room. Joking about how her music was inspired by feelings of social anxiety, the realities of adulthood and relationships – subjects which the student-studded crowd could undoubtedly relate all too well with.
Her song ‘Don’t Wanna Wake Up’ addressed the nostalgia of the carefree nature of childhood in the face of growing older and gaining more responsibilities – a song which really resonated with me as the song captured what I’d been feeling, as a 20yr old student navigating adult life in this big bustling city, I feel her music managed to bring me a more positive perspective and grounding– so for that Jasmine, I thank you. I often find with music that the more relatable the lyrics the more I feel it can inspire and validate feeling- something which I see to be one of music’s primary functions. So, all I ask is that Jasmine releases more of her music asap! She closed with one of her released songs that I’ve been loving of late called ‘Gone’ , which brought a sweetly satisfying end to her set. Yet another of Conservatoire’s ones to watch!
Finally for the main event Bel Cobain. Before her entrance, Bell Cobain’s set was prefaced by a beautiful instrumental intro by lone guitarist on stage, Danny. His restful playing set the ambient tone for the acoustic set that was to follow and settled the buzz of the crowd to an earnest quiet. Bell’s vibrancy, in both dress, and personality, filled the room as she took a seat alongside her guitarist. Her beaming outward smiles accompanied her gorgeous vocals as she introduced a new single ‘Unsafe house’, which she announced would be released as a double-sided record. The accompaniment of her silky vocals and the gentle jazzy twang of the guitar made for truly beautiful listening. She followed her first song, and some light bantering with the audience , with some of her popular songs ‘Broken Bridge’ a single released back in February 2020 and ‘At the Bay’ which she released in collaboration with The Silhouettes Project and friend, Lex Amor. Between songs Cobain made the gig that bit more intimate in how she shared anecdotes and inspiration for each of her song. Whilst introducing an unreleased song ‘Leader’, she implored us to listen to her lyrics to understand the notion that being submissive and ‘being lead’ as she says, can still display a sense of power despite its connotations. Having warmed up the crowd she closed the set with ‘Emocean’ and her most popular song ‘Introverted Stoner’ which both saw the audience singing along and engaging with Bel on stage. An emotion bearing, intimate set which served up a perfect helping of Sunday Soul to those who came down to Eiger.