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Juicing up on fresh sounds that promise exciting 2020 at Ironworks gig with K.I.A.N, Casanova and Citrus Scene


By Margaret Chrystall


IT’S hard to think of a gig by young acts in recent times that’s shown more promise from all of them for 2020 than Friday’s Ironworks showcase – or a gig that also just slapped you quite so hard in the face with the power of its good times.

OK, none of the three line-ups was completely new to the art of planning the perfect gig, all have been working away on their music for a while – and that sung out.

K.I.A.N becomes performer. Picture: James MacKenzie
K.I.A.N becomes performer. Picture: James MacKenzie

But for first-on hip hop soloist K.I.A.N – also playing his first gig – there was a delicious sense of watching a performer stretching into fully-formed life in front of you.

His tracks are sophisticated-sounding fusions between recorded musical backdrops that zing with variety – piano here, chiming guitar note there – behind words that kick it and certainly connected with the crowd at this gig.

K.I.A.N 'occasionally grabbing at his head like a worried man'. Picture: James MacKenzie..
K.I.A.N 'occasionally grabbing at his head like a worried man'. Picture: James MacKenzie..

Mostly pacing the stage, occasionally grabbing at his head like a worried man, It wasn’t until we got to It’s Bliss – the reprise – that the full stretch of K.I.A.N’s onstage presence truly found its power.

But that’s more than OK for a first gig …

Casanova’s Josh Sutherland rock-godding it. Picture: James MacKenzie
Casanova’s Josh Sutherland rock-godding it. Picture: James MacKenzie

Alt-rockers Casanova's lead singer Josh Sutherland is a mesmerising presence at the heart of the band. He came across as a fully-formed rock god in leopard-skin top – who can strut, shoogle, shimmy and leap into the pit to woo the crowd some more, while the lead guitar and bass – in perfect contrast – remain still, a foil to his manic energy.

Recorded track Grace came across as one of the most convincing live. But it was an inspired and courageous decision to go with a cover for your big finish, leave-'em-wanting-more moment. To make it a gorgeously individual cover of The Smiths' This Charming Man – they had me at "Punctured bicycle".

Citrus Scene’s Fin Bradshaw basking in the feelgood at Friday’s gig. Picture: James MacKenzie
Citrus Scene’s Fin Bradshaw basking in the feelgood at Friday’s gig. Picture: James MacKenzie

Citrus Scene’s set was super-savvy – first song in, Shotgun was a new one that got their crowd nicely set alight, so the energy coming back at them onstage must have been fearsome from the off. And with a mix of eclectic covers pumped in between the original songs – Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Alt-J – there was breathing space for us in the crowd to draw a map between the influences of where they had come from musically and the place they wanted their own songs to take us – and them.

Friday’s crowd totally up for loving the line-up.Picture: James MacKenzie
Friday’s crowd totally up for loving the line-up.Picture: James MacKenzie

There’s a huge sense of ambition with Citrus Scene and an almost precocious understanding of exactly what a band needs to do to be exciting to watch and make a stage sizzle with anticipation of what the hell they might do next.

Before they even played a note, the glitter power of lead guitarist Fin Bradshaw’s Best Jacket In Rock bomber caught the eye as they hustled onstage. Visually, they’ve got lots of moves.

Citrus Scene’s singer Aidan Ryles in the moment. Picture: James MacKenzie
Citrus Scene’s singer Aidan Ryles in the moment. Picture: James MacKenzie

Lead singer Aidan Ryles lives the music, his arm kicking up to the sky with punchy authority, while with lead guitarist Fin, the two play out a tag-team choreography, facing off on guitar in one of their billed new songs, and the two performed Alt-J cover Breeze Blocks alone, Fin swapping guitar for drums –#impressivemusicianship.

Best song? Hard to choose, but How To Get Away With Murder is polished and lyrically switched on to the crumbling world around us. But finisher and first single Come Back To Me saw the band ignite as the crowd – 400, according to K.I.A.N, earlier in the night – lived up to their orders from Fin – “Time to lose it!”.



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