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Hotel Books - The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham 31.01.2017

Since this gig, The Sunflower Lounge has become one of my favourite local independent venues to visit. If you’re in the area or get the opportunity to see a band here, don’t question going – you’re not going to regret it!

Kicking off the sold-out show was Proud Ember, who set the bar high for the evening that was to follow. He tells us that he’s touring with Luke Rainsford (who’ll be playing next) and he has recently released his debut EP, 'I Died In My Bedroom'. His songs were melancholy but tinged with nostalgia, and after his first song 'Mailbox' I could hear some tears in the crowd. His set was short, but sweet, and went down a treat.

Next was Luke Rainsford – a good friend of mine who I first saw supporting This Wild Life a couple of months ago. He seems to have developed a strong following, especially following his signing to Scylla Records and the release of his latest single 'Ties'. Whilst singing 'I A Melodramatic', the whole room bursts into song and he struggles to stay serious for the duration of his set. His songs cover a number of issues, and he makes a point of highlighting the need for mental health awareness before performing 'Ankle Socks'. It makes me happy to see him gaining the following he deserves, and he seems to be going from strength to strength. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

Following this was the metalcore band Convictions, who I was slightly apprehensive about due to most of the evening focusing on spoken word. However, this band blew me away through their 40-minute set – carefully composed and heavy with emotion, they got the whole crowd moving and singing. It wasn’t long before the stage turned into a scene of chaos – cymbals were thrown, guitars were discarded to the side and mic stands ended up in the crowd.

Finally, Hotel Books climbed up on stage, and I have no shame in saying I spent the next hour or so huddled at the back of the venue in tears. Spoken word has always resonated with me, and to feel an entire room of people singing back such meaningful lyrics resulted in me being a bit of a blubbering mess. The band revolves around Cam Smith’s poetic vocals, and what started off as a music channel on YouTube has spiralled into an incredibly meaningful and diverse spoken word project. The highlight of the night was probably when they performed their most popular and iconic track 'Ghosts Can’t Love', which didn’t leave a dry eye in the room. If you want a gig that leaves you mentally exhausted with a zest for life, I’d thoroughly suggest you catch him on his next tour. This was quite possibly once of my favourite gigs of the past few months.

Review & Photos - Sutcliffe Photography

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