Monday, 13 January 2014

Little Lady, Big Voice

Live in the Queen Street Mall, Brisbane.
by Nayt Housman

Strolling through Brisbane city the other day I heard a powerful sound in the heart of Queen Street Mall. As I neared, I saw a crowd gathered around a beautiful girl singing with a handsome guy strumming a geetar. As I strolled passed I quickly glanced at the name Bec Laughton but kept walking. I made it maybe another 20 meters before her voice stopped me in my tracks. I did an about turn and headed back, plonked my bum front and center on the pavement and readied myself for what was left of the show… “Thanks everyone! We’ll be back in half an hour” Just my luck…

I killed time by heading to the Record Exchange and after rummaging for 15 minutes, feeling inspired by the possibilities of music unknown, I picked up an INXS record I was unfamiliar with, paid and headed back for the next set. I waited until I saw the duo stirring and when they looked about ready, I again set myself up front row, center on the pavement in front of them.

“Here he is, ready and waiting.” Bec announced my eagerness to the whole of Queen St Mall (I had to smile, as I am prone to bouts of groupie behavior) then BAM straight into the first song.

After introducing herself, and her guitarist, Imraan Paleker, Bec introduced her love of early 90s sounds and demonstrated it by using a smart phone app to craft a dodgy/cool hiphop style beat. Using the beat and manipulating it on the spot (which began the song along with Imraan strumming the guitar) one thing was apparent, music is not just a job for her, it’s enjoyment, it’s her craft, especially seeing as she was smiling pretty much the whole time. Then toward the end of the song came the best gimmick, “West Philadelphia, born and raised…” Fresh Prince? Oh no you did not! “Earth, fire, wind, water, heart! Captain Planet, he’s our hero…” Hell no! How dare you appeal to my sentimental childhood side! HA I loved it! Another great touch is the little matchbooks that are designed like the old ‘Redheads’ matches she had as giveaways. SO CUTE.

Wow. This girl has a big soulful voice that flows as easily as hot wax down the side of a candle and feels as malleable as plasticine. Mix that voice with a hot look and a big, spunky attitude and I’ve found myself someone to keep an eye and ear on in the near future. I do love me some jazz and funk, and I think it’s great that artists are going back to explore these sounds musically while mixing it with modern elements and a sense of humour. Obvious comparisons will be made with Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse or Adele who seemingly began the revival soul in the modern pop realm, but I made immediate comparisons with the My Affection album from one of my fave little-knowns named Vassy and the likes of Erykah Badu.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Brisbane is producing some inspiring talent and seems to be blossoming musically as well as creatively in general. It’s a beautiful thing when you can walk through the shopping precinct and come across such powerful talent being supported by the local council as part of The City Sounds program, which helps to give public exposure to burgeoning artists. After the gig I went over to have a chat to Bec about how music is her medicine and while we were talking a young guy fresh from California politely interrupted to tell her how much he was blown away by the set and stopped in his tracks on his way to somewhere but she was so good he just don’t care. That’s exactly what happened to me!

So if you like your music jazzcentric, buoyant on funky beats and brimming with youthful fervor that makes your butt wiggle in your seat then tune your hearing abilities into Brisbane’s Bec Laughton.

Read more:

Official Website
Bec Laughton - Facebook

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