A dishevelled landmark, a prospective reassuring vibrancy, standing on the toes of its far trendier brother, Shoreditch, Dalston displays many of the traits the youth have grown to love about the borough of Hackney. It appears even for somewhere so close to the Islington border, Dalston cannot escape gentrification. Living side by side with those who you’d expect to be well and truly priced out of the area, the 30-something business casuals don’t appear to have won yet. Servant Jazz Quarters is something of a familiar face in these parts as far as venues go. Long gone is the pub-rock circuit of the ’70s and ’80s, this quaint little space that serves up Jazz and all kinds of contemporary and world music, is a curious place to be, to say the least.
A small stage crammed with guitars, keyboards and amps occupies the space underneath the stairs, one man and his acoustic guitar steps up on-stage. Jonny Olley brings a touch of flair to the singer/songwriter troupe. Soaring vocals glide around the whole bar, glistening through the optics, delighting the eardrums, leaving the imagination to wonder what else Olley has up his sleeve. His second song, ‘Island Life,’ bares a darker tone and shows a softer, more delicate side to Olley. Throughout his set, Olley wears his inspirations on his sleeve and shows a wide range of styles that I could imagine would sound fascinating with the right band behind him, but really his biggest selling point is great songs with a great voice.
Miles Horn coyly takes up residence on-stage, joined by a posse of insanely talented young men, they begin setting the stage. Opening with ‘Fall From Grace,’ a powerful indie pop banger, setting the precedent for the rest of the night’s show. The stripped back ‘Something Beautiful,’ a folky guitar ballad featuring some of the most luscious, effortless vocal harmonies of their whole set, is a beautiful affair (if you’ll pardon the pun). Making for a wonderful and intimate moment, that is as bewildering as it is tenacious.
The band hit out a wealth of vastly different styles, from pop to blues and soul, offering touches of influence from all over the place. Horn’s soothing baritone vocal cements it altogether with coherence and powerful command, a trait I think foreshadows success. ‘Cheap Sunglasses,’ the penultimate song in the band’s set, shows that Horn and the gang really know how to have fun, only a person with no feeling at all would find it easy to stand still during this number. After rapturous applause and chants for an encore the band close out with the solemn ‘Like We Used To,’ a potent love song to pull on the heartstrings before saying goodbye for the last time.
The current single, ‘Stranded in Emotions’, from Miles Horn is out now – and is available to stream / purchase on Spotify and iTunes now.
The upcoming live dates for Miles Horn, are as follows:
9th October – Sink Bar, Hoxton
15th October – Gladstone Arms, Borough
18th October – Sofar Sounds, Bradford
24th October – The Bedford, Balham
1st November – BOHO, Camden
7th November – The Social, Oxford Circus
9th November – The Warehouse, Aldgate East
13th November – The Half Moon, Putney
16th November – Sofar Sounds, Sheffield
29th November – The Ritzy, Brixton
6th December – The Islington, Angel (Headline full band show)
All live photos are provided by Eleonora Collini.