Live Reviews
WHITBY GOTH WEEKEND – April 2016 – S.O.P.H.I.E. At Abbey Wharf

By Jordan Mooney.

Before we get onto the main event, it’d be foolish to ignore one of the finest fringe events in Whitby Goth Weekend’s already veritable repertoire – the SOPHIE Acoustic Gig at Abbey Wharf, on Thursday the 21st of April.

We’ve normally not covered fringe events at Goth Weekend except for events we’re specially invited to in advance – this isn’t out of arrogance, it’s more that we fail to find the time. The result was a rather charming gig at a slightly crap venue; although that’s based mainly on the food and drink prices and residential restrictions. Other than that, it was fine. The club music was pretty good.

The line up for the night was Eloise Kerry, Chasing Dragons, and Rhombus – all providing acoustic sets under the care of WGW’s esteemed Magenta Moon, aiming to raise awareness and a bit of cash for the Sophie Lancaster Foundation; their incredible work and the horrifying story that started it all is far too long for me to cover in a few paragraphs, so I heartily recommend looking at their website and perhaps considering a donation to their cause – it’s well worth your support.

Eloise Kerry has, to my knowledge, never performed a ‘proper’ Gig before – and she’s on the cusp of something absolutely amazing. She’s not only an incredibly likeable character (one may be a little bit in love) but she has a huge amount of passion and talent. She was exceptionally nervous, and, while this showed occasionally, there’s a huge charisma hidden within that’s just aching, aching to break out! If her confidence was just given a little shove and a good manager took her in, there’s an absolutely incredible potential ready and waiting. It was hugely exciting to watch her; because if this is her first ‘proper’ gig, it may be the start of an amazing story.

Chasing Dragons, similarly, are strangers to the acoustic gig – it’s not an easy one to suddenly take on. Mistakes are more obvious, ad-libs and changes to the traditional riotous (albeit melodic) tones that Tank reaches when the group are shooting on all cylinders; however, this was a wonderful experiment. To hear more of Tank’s vocal, uncluttered by loud guitars, and to hear her explore gentler tones to her usual style was a genuinely lovely experience; certainly, it’s not Chasing Dragons as we know them, but it’s perfect to get people swaying. Should it still be legal we’d be holding up lighters. As an aside, they set up a merch stall and gave 50% of proceeds to SOPHIE – a bloody wonderful gesture and on a business front a stroke of genius. Well done!

Rhombus, too (I’m noticing a trend here) haven’t got a huge amount of Acoustic experience behind them, but it must be said I’m close to preferring their spellbinding live set here to the full group. It felt particularly sincere and passionate – something the group aren’t lacking anyway – and with a smaller line up it did add a touch of extra focus after the influence of alcohol, giving Alix and Ed a true time to shine without a football team behind them! It’s not much of a change to their tracks in the grand scheme of things; but it’s a noticeable and fascinating one. Their set continued for what felt like many wonderful hours; and I don’t think there’s a point I ever wanted it to stop. Hugely enjoyable.

The SOPHIE gig was a perfect way to introduce the main event at the Spa. A very successful raffle, a decent crowd and a nice way to start off a session of much cheaper drinking elsewhere. I hope it becomes a regular occasion at Goth Weekend – it felt remarkably relaxed, jovial and went to a wonderful cause that deserves your attention. What a lovely experience; one wouldn’t change it for the world. Except for reducing drinks prices.

About the author

Compulsive hat wearer, eccentric, fan of all things audio-visual, part time Goth, historian, and railway enthusiast, Jordan is the closest you can get to everybody's weird uncle. Except he's less than 60 years old.

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