May’s Frequency: Aaron Bali, Pangolins and Somahigh

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The Alternative and Indie music society (AIM) continue to pull out the stops when it comes to live music. With Frequency, the society demonstrates an ear to the ground when it comes to local sounds from across the south, in a variety of genres and levels, and May’s Frequency was no different there.

First up was Aaron Bali, an acoustic crooner with wit sharper than your average knife. At the beginning of the set, he was a little shy and retiring, taking a little while to come into his own and shine on stage, but once he got into the swing of things he was largely faultless. His cover of R-Kelly‘s ‘Ignition’ was inspired and well executed, despite Bali‘s tendency to forget the lyrics – although some would argue that the lyrics of R Kelly are hallowed and untouchable, Bali demonstrated that you don’t even need to know the words to have a good time with Kelly‘s music. But the highlight of the set came from a beautiful City and Colour cover, which was wonderfully done and was note perfect, a real testament to Bali and his acoustic whiles – although not quite comparable to Dallas Green, his cover did the original real justice and was a great addition to the set.

Up next were newly formed rock outfit Pangolins, who were gutsy and intriguing for want of better description. If you can get over the fact that the lead singer was wearing sunglasses indoors, a pikachu hat, and had about as much stage presence as a tea spoon, then you might have enjoyed the set. It consisted mostly of ‘rock’ versions of popular songs, such as ‘Umbrella’ and ‘Never Forget You’, which were mostly uninspiring. They also had a song of their own, which sounded like it would have been better placed on a ‘Now 38’ cassette. Despite these criticisms, their closing cover of Adele‘s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ was a delight, and the skills of the guitarist and drummer were astounding – after a stunning drum break down and an impromptu guitar solo, two thirds of Pangolins really impressed me.

And last up at May’s Frequency were Southampton’s very own Somahigh, a fully fledged and fully functional foursome whose skills brought the house down in The Bridge. Their sound rests midway between dark synthy melodies and some harder rock vibes, which meant their set was often a series of leaps and bounds in various different directions, but somehow it didn’t jar. And what is great about Somahigh is their sheer brilliance on the stage – they were gracious and engaging, truly unable to believe that members of AIM and beyond were there to see the foursome, whilst the sound itself was utterly awe inspiring. It was thick and dusty in all the rights ways, sounding completely developed and common sensical in ways that both support slots didn’t manage. They truly deserve a stage and an audience at least three times the size of what they experienced at Frequency on May 9th, and keep your ears tuned, because they are likely to be big news in the not too distant future.

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