Thalia Zedek - Corsica Studios, London (05/10/2008)

Chris Miller | Tuesday, 07 October 2008

Thalia Zedek - Corsica Studios, London (05/10/2008)
Zedek's band combines emotive and melancholic lyrics reminiscent of Nick Cave with pounding electric guitars, drumbeats and edgy viola, but only in a venue with an adequate acoustic setup. The backstreet art college of Corsica Studios looks more like an illegal warehouse than a music venue though it did seem to have a bit of Brick Lane industrial charm about it. Zedek won’t have such an affinity with it after Sunday night's performance.

Opening at 7:30 with two other bands on the bill didn't seem to pose too much of a threat to the smooth running, but by 21:45 rhythm-led support band Alexander Tucker were still shattering the window panes. Zedek didn't get near the stage until 22:00 and obviously didn't have time to sound-check before finally accepting her fate 25 minutes later.
 
By the time she had launched into 'Stars' it was clear that the setup wasn't going to be able to handle the feedback and sound deficiencies. Zedek herself seemed affected by the situation and seemed to go off-key during song two. Atmospheric number 'Do You Remember?' followed, her husky, haunting voice complimenting an eerie viola, played superbly by David Curry.
 
Thalia's ten song showcase of the new album was briefly paused at song six to individually introduce the rest of the band (a nice touch), along with some brief anecdotes, including one about the voyages of Captain Cook to introduce 'Hell Is For Hello'.

This was probably the best of the night, combining her prominent vocals with the viola accompaniment - a moving and emotional performance before a mass noise epic was launched as the finale. Zedek's voice encapsulated the pain she sang of wonderfully.

Zedek also played 'Body Memory' and 'Next Exit' from the new record in heartily-constructed songs averaging at least six minutes each. A special note should go to new drummer Daniel Coughlin who must have needed an ice bath after he came off stage.

Zedek's frustration at the venue's shortcomings was documented in a thinly-veiled address at the end where she also treated what was left of the audience to a one song encore. Thalia is a talented songwriter with a unique musical composition but was not really able to relax thanks to the sound difficulties. Sometimes an inadequate setup can make all the difference - it certainly did in this case.

Rating: 2/5