A jam-packed and excited Hoxton Bar & Kitchen was the setting for a night of inspiring and outstanding performances by all the acts involved, as Gold Dust presented performances from Zella Day, Samm Henshaw and Dan Cook. The cosy venue was alive with anticipation as the individuals and small groups that formed the crowd tried their best to squeeze into every crevice they could find, in order to get a view of the stage.
The first act to appear was singer/songwriter Dan Cook, who produced a charming performance that helped ease the audience into the events of the night. Despite being the only act to perform without a live band, Cook was more than capable of keeping hold of the room’s attention with just his guitar and coarse voice, equipped with a soulful edge to it. Cook’s sound, which has been described as British Soul despite its acoustic origins, filled the room with an unerring calm, as the Hartlepool bred crooner portrayed his subtle stage presence merely through his vocals. Cook has provided acoustic performances for various YouTube channels in recent times, showcasing his ability to sing live, so we expect to see more of him in throughout this year.
Following shortly after Dan Cook’s opening act was the soulful inclinations of Samm Henshaw, who was returning to the stage after a lengthy absence of almost two years. It was a noteworthy and rousing reintroduction to the stage for Henshaw, who was supported by an impressive band as he reacquainted himself with performing live in the most momentous fashion, confidently interacting with the crowd throughout his set. Due to the band’s presence, the space on the stage was at a minimal but that did not prevent the 20 year old Henshaw from imposing himself on the audience through his strong, soulful vocals that were not befitting of his tender years.
Within his six song set list, Henshaw was able to transform the atmosphere of the bar into one more akin to that of a church on a Sunday morning, drawing strong comparisons to artists such as John Legend in the way he passionately delivered his renditions. Based on this performance, much will be expected of Samm Henshaw this year as he builds towards his anticipated debut EP, The Sound Experiment, which is expected to arrive this year. It’s difficult to imagine anything but success for this young man if he goes on to fulfil the undoubted potential he has shown up until this point.
The headline act of the night was California based singer Zella Day, whose fusion of early 2000’s pop-rock with a sprinkling of the classic 1960’s sound have given her warranted attention in both the US and the UK. Her voice – commanding, despite its innocence – has been compared to Lana Del Rey’s due to its strength and versatility, allowing her to effortlessly transmit certain feelings through the use of her vocals, which juxtaposed with the rock style spine of the instrumentation she covers, makes for a hypnotically absorbing concoction.
Zella Day’s style is cinematic, writing and performing songs that would be suitable for Hollywood movie title sequences, artistically illustrating her story to the listener. Her captivating allure is enhanced by her demeanour on stage, performing as if she were alone, giving spectators the feeling of almost eavesdropping upon her performance. This was not Zella Day’s first appearance on these shores, having made her debut at Notting Hill Arts Club in July of last year, which certainly assisted her gaining foothold with audiences in the UK. Zella’s debut self-titled EP was released in late 2014, causing people to speculate whether she will be one of 2015’s emerging talents within the genre.
We Plug Good Music wishes all the above mentioned acts the best of luck for the rest of the year, and we expect to be informing you about their progress soon. Keep Tabs on Zella Day, Samm Henshaw and Dan Cook here, here and here.
Words by Nathan Fisher