In London, you’re absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to picking something to do on a Saturday night.
In Camden alone, there are countless gig venues, bars and alternative nightclubs, and the aptly titled Camden Assembly manages to operate as all three. On December 8, music fans filed into its dedicated upstairs venue to catch sets from some of the city’s finest up-and-coming acts.
Singer-songwriter Gretchin kicked things off, performing beautifully despite the venue still being half empty. Her genre of choice is electropop influenced by R&B and soul, and she stood tall on the stage accompanied only by a drummer. Her style is not unlike alternative female frontrunners such as Halsey and Billie Eilish, and despite having a small audience it was safe to say she had everyone transfixed.
Next up was Talk Slow, a five-piece alternative rock band from East London. The influence of bands such as The 1975 was immediately apparent as soon as they began playing, and it wasn’t long before the room filled up with people curious to see what the band had to offer. Talk Slow’s discography includes powerful singles such as ‘money.’ and ‘I Think I Love You’, which were just some of what they had to offer to Camden Assembly that evening. It was a high-energy set that had the crowd successfully engaged, so it was no surprise when they finished their set and the room erupted in cheers.
Berg was next, a singer-songwriter from Sweden who now calls London her home. Equipped with a keyboard and joined by a backing band, she did an excellent job at capturing the crowd’s attention with her relatable, catchy songs. A particularly brilliant point in her set was her mashup of a number of tracks that included Beyoncé’s ‘Crazy In Love’ and ‘No Diggity’ by Blackstreet, which certainly seemed to perk the crowd up if their singing was anything to go by. Berg, real name Alexandra Berglof, was an unstoppable force on the Camden Assembly stage, and it will be interesting to see how she progresses in her career.
The headliner of the night was FACES, a five-piece put together by singer-songwriter Nick Bradley early this year. From the very get-go, it was clear that their sound was vastly different than anything that the audience had heard earlier that evening as this was a band driven by the influence of pure rock ‘n’ roll. Original material from all five members of the band was on offer throughout the set but they didn’t shy away from adding a cover in the form of Arctic Monkey’s ‘R U Mine?’, an excellent choice to win over anyone, even though the crowd seemed to already be sold on them.
All in all, FACES performed a frantically beautiful set that brought the evening to a close with vigour. No two acts were the same throughout the show so comparisons could seldom be made, but it was Nick Bradley and co. who seemed to have the crowd spellbound with a unique performance that confirmed a Saturday night well spent for those in the upstairs venue of the Camden Assembly.
Photos by Alejandra Peter-Thomas.