Unfortunately, its not very often these days that we get the chance to be excited about the prospect of a young band making the very tough breakthrough in the music business around this area. But in Belvadere we could possibly have a real chance of seeing it happen and it is long overdue. For the very hard working, driven and extremely talented three piece folk/country band, it definitely has been a whirlwind few months. After meeting at Blackpool Sixth Form College and forming only late last year, the three 18 year old band members, Jess, Harrison & Danny have gone from strength to strength and made many new admirers along the way. They say that hard work and commitment eventually pays off. Very true perhaps, but you also have to be good enough and skilled enough to create a fresh sound that immediately catches your ear and has your feet tapping. Belvadere possess all those qualities and more. So it’s of no surprise at all that we now see them release their much anticipated debut E.P Faded Memories to fine acclaim.
Along with several other very promising young bands, who incidentally, we also have much hope for in the future months, Belvadere are yet another young and talented band that I was lucky enough to first catch live in the semi-final of The Fylde Battle Of The Bands competition at the Sixth Form College, back in the spring of this year. They breezed through to the final, but were pipped at the post by eventual winners The People. But it didn’t really matter who won the competition, because the quality of each band was outstanding in the final. The bar was certainly raised that night and each band has kicked on since.
One of the most important attributes to possess as an aspiring band is a good work ethic and Belvadere don’t come up short in that department. After converting an attic space at Jess’ house, with the support and backing of her parents, the band have spent every available hour putting in the practice rehearsing their material, making absolutely sure that each member is content and happy with the results. Added to the long hours in the attic, there are the many local gigs that have seen Belvadere gain a brilliant reputation for their outstanding live shows. Receiving great reviews and many plaudits along the way, has seen the band develop into a very tight sounding unit and delivering first class live sets to very enthusiastic audiences.
Belvadere describe their sound as “modern folk/ country”, maybe a somewhat surprising choice of genre from such a young band. Their influences are obviously drawn from the new folk sound from the likes of Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers and Of Monsters And Men. But Belvadere can mix it up too and adapt their repertoire to other genres of music, such as dance… by putting their own stamp on it. They regularly perform a great version of Dont You Worry Child by dance act Swedish House Mafia, but still manage to create their own signature sound which is instantly recognisable. They have that required diversity when choosing material to cover and it usually appeals to many, especially during their live performances.
But personally I think their strength lies in their own original material and this new EP backs up my opinion.
In choosing four of their own songs for the EP, they have carefully considered all aspects in taking the listener on a journey that sums up what Belvadere are all about. With a traditional sound to base the songs on, they put a modern and quirky twist on each composition, in keeping with the recent renaissance in popularity for the new folk band sound. In Jess Cunnah, they have a vocally powerful lead figure, with a fantastic range. Its always good to relay to audiences that you are enjoying yourself whilst performing and I can’t remember anyone who smiles quite as much as Jess when on stage, which clearly demonstrates she is relaxed and loves her work. On keyboards and shared vocals is Danny Marland, quite a character and I don`t think he would mind me saying, the joker in the band. But what lies beneath the comic is a very skilled musician and composer, who also adds a touch of spice to the songs with his almost baritone voice which compliments Jess’ nicely. Completing the line up is Harrison Clark, doubling up on acoustic guitar and bass drum, which is used in a style similar to that of Marcus Mumford. Harrison, I think its fair to say, tends to be the more serious of the three and often referred as the guy that keeps everyone in check. But again, here we have a musician who plays to a high standard far beyond his years and is a class act. So in effect, each member of the band brings something different to the table.
Supported by locally based label Aurovine, sponsored by Utopia Music Associates and also backed by influential entertainer and entrepreneur Stephen Pierre, Belvadere have every chance of getting the support and promotion they need to get their music heard further afield, through both radio and the internet. With some weight thrown in from Heineken UK as sponsors too for this EP, it may eventually lead to bigger and better opportunities. Hopefully this will be the case and the area can have another band to be proud of. Also a word too, to Rock Hard Studios in North Shore for making a fabulous job of the production.
When I popped in to The Galleon Bar to check out their EP launch party last Saturday evening, I walked into a place that was rocking to the rafters. Belvadere were on their second set and had clearly put the place in a party mood. They have that effect on audiences and are great entertainers. But the beauty about Belvadere is that they appeal to all ages, spanning the whole spectrum and that will surely stand them in good stead and give them a far better chance of becoming successful recording artists. Recent BBC Radio Lancashire appearances and a booking for the upcoming Blackpool Rocks event, tells you that things are going very well for the band.
You can see when you look around a venue and see the reaction of the crowd, that the band on the stage in front of them are doing a mighty fine job and Belvadere manage to do that quite easily..
My personal favourite song from the new EP is Saint & Sinner which is a relatively old song that was deemed good enough to make the final cut. In my opinion it was a fine choice, because it is a quality composition and again showcases the fabulous range in Jess’ voice. The tracks Faded Memories, No Longer Broken and Lay Your Anchor make the EP a wonderful debut that will appeal to many, especially given the fact that many new acts coming through at the moment are looking to the new folk sound as inspiration. Belvadere have obviously found their niche and are working very hard on their sound and adding their own signature to it.
The band were on hand after the show had finished to happily sign copies of their EP and many people were snapping them up. It was a very good night`s work and top class showmanship from such a young band. The future looks very bright indeed and if they can carry on the hard work and the thought that has gone into the last six months to get this far, then I`m sure they will do very well indeed.
I left the Galleon with a smile, tightly clutching my signed copy of the EP and at £2.99 it could well turn out to be the bargain of the century! Watch this space.
To download a digital copy of the Belvadere EP Faded Memories priced at £1.99 go to the Belvadere page at Aurovine, or to order a physical copy at £2.99 email [email protected]. You can also keep up with Belvadere on their Facebook page.
Belvadere EP launch night images courtesy of Avishek Choudhury.
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