Emily and the Dogs, Matilda + Emily Sykes – The Victoria, Swindon – Thursday 28th March 2013

Library - 192Review by PfalzDxii

Well I remember the day I clutched a few shillings and climbed up the stairs to see my first band. I remember the sense of anticipation and awe.

I was nearly late on Thursday for the evening’s entertainment; I hurried into the Vic and bought myself a drink. As I clutched my £3 and descended the few steps into the darkness, I was surprised, yet gently pleased, that I once again felt that same sense of anticipation and awe, I had felt, so long ago.

The reason for this strange and unexpected emotion was that fact that I was again to see “Emily and the Dogs”. This band could so easily have be called, “The Emily Drake Trio”. In my day, they would have been. Emily was once in “The Sunday Dogs”, as were both Lee Moulding, and Cinzano Taylor. I like your style, Em.

“Emily Sykes and Friends”, started off the evening’s revelries. Emily S. played rhythm-guitar whilst singing, with Phil on bass-guitar. Amy, Polly, and Rebecca, sang harmonies most wondrous to the ear. All four ladies sat together in a row. Phil, once more, sat behind and to the side. The stage was beset with strings of colourful petals. Were they perchance, artificial? Regardless, the effect was magical. So was this group of friends….. magical.

“Matilda” were on next. Phil left the stage. The four ladies went to their instruments. Emily Sykes to the drums. Amy, sax. Polly, bass-guitar. Rebecca to the keyboard, and her role as main singer. The other three, too, sang harmony as well as playing. The audience was enjoying themselves, as indeed was I.

“Excited-Nervous-Excited-Nervous-Excited-Nervous-Excited-Nervous……” quote from Emily Drake, the morning of the gig. It warmed my heart to read it. When an artist of Em’s abilities is that anxious, it means they intend to give their all. Emily Drake always does. This band of hers is still relatively new. They have played a few gigs together, and they have matured into a band to be reckoned with. Lee Moulding on drums and Cinzano on bass-guitar are a wonderful rhythm section. They compliment Emily; playing and singing to perfection. They have all been friends for a very long time, and know each others’ musical talents, intimately. And what singing! Razor sharp lyrics of much intelligence. Em uses her voice, at times, as an extra instrument, bending them to her will. It seemed to me that as each song finished, the applause grew ever louder. Yes, some of that was due to me, but I was certainly not alone. “Emily and the Dogs” appear to be a musicians’ band. The Vic was full of wonderful musicians. This added to the occasion. They seemed as awed by Emily’s pure talent and quality, as was I.

Emily, I love your art, all of it. For those that don’t yet know, Emily Drake is also an artist of fantastic imagery and imagination. The evening had been beautiful, and so full of warmth and love. Many did not want it to end. After-gig celebrations moved on to another local music pub, where a marvelous band was still playing, even I went. I too simply wanted the magic to continue. In a crowded pub near midnight, with a band in full flight, I ordered, and was served with, a cup of tea. Sometimes, I just love Swindon.

One thing is for certain. I love “Emily and the Dogs”.

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