Neev @ St Pancras Old Church - 16/03/23
Updated: Mar 22
With every note, Neev's enthralling stage presence captivated the audience at her headline St Pancras Old Church show, making it impossible to look away. It was a night of pure magic, as the young singer-songwriter proved herself to be a true artist and a force to be reckoned with.
Having first captured Folklore’s attention as a playlist submission back in 2020 with her single Burning to Dust, Neev has quickly become one of our favourite rising artists. With her hotly-anticipated debut album 'Katherine' arriving on the 28th April, and recent syncs on ITV's Love Island, we headed out to her largest headline show so far to finally experience her breathtaking sound live for the first time- and what an experience it was.
First on the bill was singer-songwriter and composer Alexander Carson, who confidently sat behind a Nord keyboard, accompanied by drums and electric guitar. From the moment Carson started performing, it was clear that they had a quick wit and a great sense of humour, which translated brilliantly to the audience.
With a healthy dose of crowd participation, one of the set highlights was Carson's cover of Harry Nielsen's One, dedicated to an unsuspecting audience member. The sound was theatrical and offbeat, with Carson's bold vocals and the unique instrumentation drawing us in for an exciting ride. Overall, it was an impressive and charming performance from Alexander Carson, and a fantastic start to a night of live music.
As the church bell signalled 20h30, the second band of the night, Tape Runs Out, took to the stage. Their unique sound, a blend of folk and pop with intricate signature changes and soaring dynamics, hooked the audience from the very first note. With a six-piece lineup and a myriad of instruments at their disposal (can we have a moment for the hammered dulcimer: one of the unsung heroes of ethereal folk music!) the band created a rich and layered sound that filled the room. By the end of their accomplished set, the crowd were firmly won over, and it was clear that Tape Runs Out had made a lasting impression on all who were lucky enough to witness their performance.
The high ceilings of St Pancras Old Church struggled to contain the excitement from the audience as they eagerly anticipated the headline act, and from the moment she took to the stage, it was clear that Neev was in her element. Kicking off her set with an energetic performance of Hard Lines, her stage presence felt effortless; if there were any nerves, she hid them well. Backed by a full band, the thoughtfully arranged instrumentation elevated Neev's sound to new heights, while still allowing her to take centre stage and shine. Confidently addressing the audience, Neev thanked her label Trapped Animal Records, as well as the crowd for their support, before launching into Fast Patterns, one of Folklore's standout playlist additions from February.
Taking a moment to bring the tempo down, the 2022 single Seawall proved even more enigmatic live than on record- a notable achievement considering it's been one of our most played songs so far this year. As Neev poured her heart and soul into every note, the backing vocals provided by the faultless Maz McMillan (Frankie Morrow) and Alex Cambridge wove the emotions of the song straight into our veins, as the hypnotic repeating lines "If it's not in my lungs, then it's not in my blood, I can't remember all the things that I have given up" circled around the historic venue that seemed exclusively built for these intimate few minutes.
With a special appearance from Laura Reznek, the tour de force continued as Neev delved into her back catalogue, playing Love Song and A Mother Knows from her 2021 EP 'Currants'. The delicate trills of the piano melded with her warm vibrato as the Glaswegian-born and London-based songwriter candidly sang "Mother knows how to learn what's important, Mother knows if I forget my accent".
As the set reached its conclusion, it felt like we'd all been sufficiently blown away- Neev however, had other ideas as she welcomed Reznek, Alex Reed, Greg Sheff and MEIYI back to the stage for a rousing rendition of the standout single Green. Digging into the guitar strings and letting her voice soar across the crowd, something truly magical was born as the collaborative efforts of these seven musicians was realised on an astounding scale. Firmly cementing her status as one of the freshest voices in folk, Neev rounded off the night with an electrifying full band performance of Flowers, dauntlessly stepping into the well-earned spotlight.
A triumph in every sense of the word, this sold-out headline show was one that we knew would live on in our memories long after her final notes rang out across the delighted crowd of St Pancras Old Church; we simply cannot wait to see what Neev does next.
Words by Rebecca Brandler
Neev's debut album 'Katherine' is available for pre-order via Trapped Animal Records and due for release on 28th April 2023.
Folklore Sessions returns on the third Tuesday of every month at The Folklore Rooms for the latest monthly showcase.