As an iconic venue for live music, I entered the Old Firehouse with high expectations for the night’s musical acts. Flaws Above were set to perform a never before seen purely acoustic set, stripping back original songs to their core. The atmosphere was building, and casual pizza-eaters quickly dispersed to leave a small crowd of enthusiastic fans and some clearly intoxicated flatmates.
An entrancing set from solo singer/guitarist Hanna Gardner marked the first performances of the night. Musical Director of Exeter’s Soul Choir this year, it is undoubtable that one thing this girl has is soul. Getting off to a shaky start, the trembling singer attempted to gain the audiences confidence with her pre-set chatter. But once she got through her first song, an angelic rendition of Sigma’s ‘Nobody to Love’, the singer finally started to come into her own. Her next cover, Passenger’s ‘Let her go’, truly established Gardner as a female powerhouse. With her American-style slurs and iconic tone, it seems the only true way to describe her is as the female ‘Ed Sheeran’ – high praise, I know. She keeps to her singing roots whilst vaguely reminding me of a mashup of American divas, truly placing her amongst the “one’s to watch” on Exeter’s music scene.
casual pizza-eaters dispersed to leave a small crowd of enthusiastic fans and intoxicated flatmates
Sticking with the acoustic sound, Flaws Above entered the stage. Composed of Ellie on vocals, James on lead guitar, Matt on drums and Exeposé’s very own print music editor Helen Payne on guitar, needless to say the atmosphere was buzzing. With the help of a quirky drum beat from Matt, Flaws finally started their set. Front woman Ellie started the set by explaining her voice away with freshers flu, which was sometimes drowned out by the energy of the band. However, with vocals like London Grammar and killer guitarists, the quiet but confident band created a powerful atmosphere that I can only strangely describe as a folk-emo amalgamation of harmonies.
The evening would not be complete without my favourite act of the night, Lipstick Jumpsuit. The name alone is enough to tell you that this band epitomises Exeter’s indie scene and they had the attitude to prove it. The five-piece band appeared on stage with a laissez-faire swagger that seemed to suggest they didn’t need to be there, and didn’t really want to be. With their fiercely iconic stage presence, the band quickly overpowered the Firehouse, at times unpleasantly, but the atmosphere they produced was worth it. Drummer Harry Davenport stole the show, annihilating the drums like a young Taylor Hawkins. Frontman Taylor Ellard, although not the greatest singer in the room, absolutely ripped the stage to shreds, proving once again that attitude can sell a band. The excitement was building, and I finally began to appreciate the benefits of live music in Exeter. It wasn’t the Roundhouse, but the atmosphere of shared intimacy will definitely keep me coming back for more.