Saturday (August 10) saw the return of Marlborough Rising Talent at the Town Hall – a free event showcasing the musical ability of various performers from the Marlborough area. This year the musicians each played a longer set, mostly made up of original songs, an admirable feat considering the ages of those who took part.
The first up was Ann Liu Cannon, a singer-songwriter who is based in London, but is originally from Marlborough. She took the brave decision to begin the set (and the event itself) with an acapella solo performance, which proved to be a powerful moment and an ideal opportunity to display her impressivevocal range.
Another original, False Hope was more upbeat and was complimented by Ann’s sweet vocals that had a maturity beyond her years. Overall a remarkable set from a talented individual.
The next act was Rhett O’Connor, who was one of the strongest performers from the Avebury Rocks festival back in June. Although he delivered a more introverted set, his song writing ability shone through, and he proved to be the favourite of the audience members who I spoke to.
Gentler songs like Letters to No One were interspersed with heavier melodies like Crack Your Teeth and Sour Optimism, which all shared the poetic quality that marks Rhett’s songs from the rest. It is telling that a young fan asked for an autograph at the end of his performance – perhaps he recognised that the 17-year old has a promising future ahead of him.
Rae Elias delivered a confident, soulful set, aided by the accomplished guitarist Perry Sangha (a member of the band Wilding who supported Flyte later that evening) whose instrumental really brought the songs to life.
While some of the songs felt more like a display of vocal ability rather than a heartfelt performance, it was clear that Rae is a brilliantsinger with a lot of personality. Her cover of Can’t Help Falling inLove was well received by the audience, and she had some good originals too – Roundabout was particularly catchy.
Amie K performed an acoustic folk set in a duo – they had a very good instrumental sound and their voices worked perfectly together. Many of the songs werefeel-good and energetic, however I would have liked to have heard more variation to make their act more interesting.
Drew Burke, who played towards the end of the event, is a folk singer songwriter from Swindon, whose first single Wait made the Glastonbury Festival Longlist in 2017. It was evident that he was a skilled singer who had a great rapport with the crowd. However, I felt that his music would have better suited an evening performance, as the content was quite intense for a Saturday afternoon.
It was great to see Marlborough’s burgeoning music scene represented in the young talent at this event. Hopefully it will be better advertised next year, so that more people will take advantage of a few hours of great free entertainment.