Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Pixx plays a blinder in the heart of East London for only her third gig

27 August 2015, 12:30 | Written by Ed Nash

The Servant's Jazz Quarters, a lovely bar in Dalston with a small cellar beneath it for live shows, tonight (25th August) provides the small stage on which 4AD’s great hope Pixx, aka Hannah Rodgers, plays live for only the third time - an astonishing statistic in light of what happens this evening.

Accompanied by a guitarist, keyboard player and drum machine, they open with the marvellous “Deplore” from her recent EP Fall In. Pixx is also playing a guitar, which has the default pedal setting of a stereo chorus (de rigueur for any 4AD act in the 80s and 90s), yet what you’re hit with first is the power of her voice.

The singing is critical to these lovely songs. Even with the small PA, her voice simply soars all over the room (hitting the high notes in the manner of The Sundays’ Harriet Wheeler), yet it retains a down to earth intimacy through the brilliantly realised kitchen sink drama of the words.

It’s followed by two other tracks from Fall In, “A Way To Say Goodbye” and “Flee”, and even though we’re in a tiny room the sweep of the vocal could fill a much larger space. Both songs are indescribably melancholic and cinematic. Live all that’s missing is a drummer, which she says afterwards is part of the plan going forward.

She then plays five unreleased songs that show that her album has the potential to be one of the breakthroughs of next year. “Adore”, featuring just her voice and a sparse guitar, has something of Jeff Buckley’s “Lilac Wine” about it, while the tender vocal and instrumentation are a study in minimalism. The song, as with the majority of the others tonight, sounds fully formed.

Pixx has several potential hit singles in her pocket too. “Rupture” is simply beautiful, with her spoken vocal talking of the complications that love can bring ("The sadness in your eyes, and the compromise"). The first person lyrics lend the narratives a confessional nature, the line "I cannot forgive myself, but no, I don’t want to rupture anymore" is a stand out.

“Your Delight” is similarly a hit in the waiting, with a big, bold backing track and a touch of vocal inflections reminiscent of “Blue Bell Knoll” from 4AD’s torchbearers of yore Cocteau Twins.

“Baboo” is her most spacey track and perhaps her best - which is saying something considering the competition it faces from the other nine songs tonight - with the vocal jumping all over a tune both melancholic and exultant.The mellowness of the rhythm is complimented by the giddy euphoria of the singing which, to return to The Sundays, has a similar ecstasy to their sublime “Joy”.

Closing with “Fall In”, Pixx's keyboard player provides atmospheric backing vocals leaving her free to handle a tale of woe delivered with incredible insouciance. As astounding as the recorded version is, live, her voice transports it to an even more touching, celestial place, sounding both humble and heart-broken. There’s no encore, and there’s no need for one - the ten song set is a perfect hello to her story.

Tonight Pixx delivered a performance of exceptional poise and more importantly, even at this early stage of her career, she already has an album’s worth of perfectly realised, ready to release songs. It was a wonderful introduction to Pixx’s unlimited possibilities, and one of those evenings where you felt sorry for those who weren’t there to witness such a treat.

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