Mads Langer / Meiko / Kate Miller-Heidke - Borderline London
London's Borderline was one of the hosts for a series of showcases under the Musexpo 2009 banner.
The venue had already seen performances from upcoming International artistes including Hilltop Hoods, Datarock and All Mankind over the previous two days, with a trio of acts set to entertain the Wednesday night crowd on the final night of the event.
I arrived just before Denmark's Mads Langer kicked off proceedings.
It was a very hot evening so I needed to unwind with a cold pint before removing my camera from its bag.
I found myself really enjoying Mad's performance. Playing solo, with acoustic guitar helped showcase his exceptional vocal talents as he delivered some great moments when his voice soared.
His sound has been compared to a more laid back Jeff Buckley and I can see the resemblance.
Although the venue wasn't packed for the event there were certainly numerous people in the crowd appreciating his performance, whooping and hollering inbetween and sometimes during the songs, I even noticed fellow Dane, Stine from Alphabeat cheering him on.
Mads's set ended on a humorous note with a song called "Fucked up" about a crazy ex girlfriend, with the audience joining in on the "She is so fucked up" chorus.
Mads mentioned he was moving to London in August so hopefully I'll witness one of his peformances again in the near future.
My main reason for attending the evenings showcase was to check out what US singer Meiko was up to.
I discovered Meiko's music via the Hotel Cafe's "Winter Songs" compilation.
The album contains tracks from several of my fave female vocalists, including Sara Bareilles, Nicole Atkins and KT Tunstall so I checked out the My Space pages of all the acts I didn't know on the compilation as I had a feeling they'd be up my street too.
Meiko was one of my new discoveries alongside Australia's Lenka so I picked up both their albums on import, enjoying what I heard.
I actually caught a set from Meiko at this years SXSW in Texas, as part of the Hotel Cafe showcase but in all honesty I can remember very little of the event.
By the time her set started I had probably been watching bands for around 11 hours and I was just too knackered to appreciate anything at that point, even getting ratty and annoyed later in the evening as I felt Sara Bareilles set was too short!!
Luckily I had a clear head and was wide awake for Meiko's London debut, giving me the opportunity to really enjoy her performance second time around.
Meiko opened with one of my favourite tracks on the album, the atmospheric "Said and done", joking that she wasn't nervous at all on the songs completion.
Meiko has had several tracks used on TV shows and she was joined onstage by two band members to play the first song she had used on "Gray's Anatomy" - "Reasons to love you".
The UK should be due a few Meiko promotional appearances in the near future as she mentioned that she's releasing "Under my bed" on July the 20th, a piece of news she described as "Scary" !
The US songstress seemed to be under the impression that UK audiences didn't want to hear US singers talking about themselves.
Meiko if you (or any other singer songwriters for that matter) happen to read this feel free to bombard us with amusing anecdotes regarding your life as they usually help get the audience on your side through the power of laughter!!
The evenings set was mostly pulled from her self titled debut album, with "Piano song" (without the piano!) and "How lucky we are" (previously titled "Shitty apartment") following next.
One of the newer songs in Meiko's repertoire "Good looking loser" also got an airing, written about a complete asshole!
Meiko's far too short but very sweet set ended with her second newer song of the night "Real real sweet".
The song was about a jealous girlfriend getting the wrong idea, leading to her stalking the singer.
Meiko mentioned that she didn't know if the girl had heard the song but everytime she plays it she imagines the girl rushing to the stage and kicking her ass!
I was surprised that "Boys with girlfriends", one of Meiko's biggest tracks Stateside didn't make the set list but I'll hopefully get an opportunity to sample the song live as I'm hoping to return to see Meiko again at one of her two forthcoming London appearances, especially as her Borderline performance was exquisite.
I only found out about the evening's show a couple of days earlier via a posting on Meiko's My Space page.
I knew nothing about the third act on the bill - Australia's Kate Miller-Heidke so did a bit of online investigating, sampling the delights of her debut album "Little Eve" and current collection "Curiouser".
I would say Kate's musical output comes under the banner "Quirky Pop" as her songs are very catchy with radio friendly choruses but she has the tendency to deliver operatic bursts of singing mid song on numerous occasions.
Meiko's set was delightfully laid back so it was no surprise that Kate took the energy up a few notches.
Opening with "Little Adam" from her first release Kate flounced her way through the number, using her operatic skills to great effect towards the end of the song.
This was also Kate's first London gig so she was pleased to get a great response to her opening track.
One of the best songs on "Curiouser" is "Caught in the crowd". Its fairly touching lyrics focus on the subject of bullying, with Kate's character turning away from a friend in need. The song was written by Kate and band member Keir Nuttall and won them 25,000 US Dollars in the 2008 International Songwriting Competition.
That being said I did feel a little let down when Kate introduced the song by saying it was written due to Keir reminiscing about his return from a school trip, shitting himself on the bus and blaming the smell on an unliked female classmate!!
Kate even managed to slip some Rage Against The Machine into her set during her rendition of "Words", with the "Fuck you I wont do what you tell me" refrain fitting in nicely with the guitar heavy track.
After a brief band introduction Kate performed her last song from debut album "Little Eve" - "Space they cannot touch", showing the softer side of the singer.
The audience were treated to a new track next, in the form of a song called "Facebook".
The song was very amusing and I laughed on a couple of occasions but I did feel that the subject matter would be past its sell by date fairly quickly, dating the track badly.
I imagine Jake Shillingford from 90's Brit Pop legends - My Life Story probably winces everytime he reminisces on the fact he once wrote a song containing the word "Tamagotchi" !
Kate ended her set with her Top Forty single back home "Can't shake it" , bringing a very good debut performance to a decent close.
All three acts on the Borderline line bill were worthy of further attention so hopefully the UK will take them all to their hearts!
There's a great clip of Mads Langer singing "Fucked up' on You Tube from a previous gig that you can sample here.
Meiko is touring the UK in July, supporting Joshua Radin and playing a few solo shows. Visit her My Space for further details.
Kate Miller-Heidke plays London's Bush Hall on the 9th of July. check out her My Space page for future dates.