The dim lights of Firehouse were set ablaze on Sunday night, 6 February, as student bands and singers took to the stage for ExTunes. Acapella group Madrigals opened the night with a unique twist on the student music scene. The entire set was a quaint throwback to the years of yore, and was further embellished by the flowery headbands the girls wore. The group, who predominantly perform sixteenth and seventeenth-century folk, wowed the audience with their renditions. ‘Greensleeves’ was the clear highlight, as the crowd went wild for a song that we actually recognised. The group’s harmonies were spot on, with the perfect blend of male altos and female sopranos.
Next on stage were Siwan Reynolds, Rosa Day-Jones and Kate Clifford: three girls who were lending their vocals from Soul Choir. The trio introduced themselves and then took to the stage separately. Kate opened, with a more contemporary set list than her predecessors. Her vocals were powerful and she held the crowd captivated. Siwan wowed the ever growing crowd with her equally strong vocals, and caused a massive stir as she broke into a rap, which simultaneously shocked and delighted the now teeming crowd. Rosa accompanied both girls on the keyboards, her fingers effortlessly skimming the keys. She performed a number of original songs for the crowd, which were particularly impressive. One of the originals had only been written a week prior and she bravely chose to debut it that night, a decision that definitely paid off. The girls closed their set by performing James Bay’s ‘Let It Go’, which was a stunning ending to a beautiful set.
Her original material was arguably even more impressive than her covers, as her passion for music shone through
Hannah Gardner, another Soul Choir member, returned to the Firehouse, guitar in hand, to deliver yet another stellar performance. The blonde singer-songwriter thoroughly entertained the crowd with her renditions, opening with crowd-pleaser ‘Thinking Out Loud’ by Ed Sheeran. The incredible performance was followed by a number of covers and originals. Her original material was arguably even more impressive than her covers, as her passion for music shone through. One of the highlights of her set was when she was joined by two singers from the Madrigals to sing the male parts in one song. It seemed to be an impromptu decision, as the boys read from their phone screens, but this only added to the crowd’s delight.
Indie rock band Stress Cows ended the night with a bang, as they performed to an almost packed out crowd. The band comprised of frontman Ben Gladman on guitar and lead vocals, Marcus Rumpus (great name) also on guitar, Elliot Coenen on bass and Jake George on drums. The boys absolutely smashed their set, playing a mixture of crowd favourite covers and even a few originals, which were equally impressive. They created a great atmosphere, keeping fairly chilled in lieu with Firehouse’s famously relaxed ambience. Overall, the night was a great success and all the acts playing perfectly suited Firehouse’s rustic, chilled out vibe whilst still managing to entertain an ever-increasing crowd.