The Stow Live @Cargo_LDN | Gig Review

Last Monday, indie pop band The Stow headlined at Cargo for the aptly named ‘A Night with The Stow’. If you’re wondering who on earth The Stow are, you’re probably not alone. This relatively unknown band only popped up on the scene last year but whilst they could be considered rookies in the game, they’ve made some pretty impressive waves; having toured with VV Brown as a support act, performed at Glastonbury and been voted best live act at this years Camden Crawl.

The band is headed by front man Haydn, who writes and arranges the songs while Shi provides powerful vocals, backed by Dave on bass Mike on guitar and Will on drums. Fresh from their mini tour of the UK, the main aim of the Cargo gig was to showcase new material and perform some tracks from their debut EP, Just Another Band.

The whole event was relatively low key, with the venue comfortably busy but not packed to the rafters. It made for an intimate and relaxed atmosphere which was briefly disrupted by the rousing rocky sounds of the opening acts The Fuel and The Great Mistakes.

Following a drink break and a few jokes and ever compulsory crowd participation exercises from host, Greeds, all five members of The Stow finally took to the stage, starting with ‘World at Our Feet’ and ‘Round and Round’.

One thing I’ve noticed about The Stow’s tracks are the catchy hooks. Any songwriter with their salt will know that a catchy hook is essential in any hit and Haydn seems to have got this concept down with the tracks he writes. With the musicians in the band providing a contemporary, indie/pop sounding backdrop, It’s Shi’s sturdy vocals that carry the melodies with an occasional undertone of soul that could possibly be compared to Sonique’s .

Haydn provides lyrics that are not quite rap but rather rhymes that compliment the verses of the songs. This is one element that makes the band unique in their approach, as their identity is very pop/indie and although their sound correlates with this, it does so in a less than obvious manner, which contributes to making them seem different.

Halfway through their set, Haydn made reference to the band’s YouTube videos of covers they had recently started doing. Their renditions had proven to be popular so they launched into a medley of the best ones. Songs like VV Brown’s ‘Shark In The Water’, merging into Tinie Tempah’s ‘Written In The Stars’ and Kanye West’s ‘Runaway’ had the crowd pumped and singing along with every word.

Another crowd pleaser was the feel good ‘Sunshine’, which I remember had caused quite a stir over the summer when it was released online via the band’s YouTube channel.

After what felt like a relatively short 40 minute set, the band had time for one encore. Haydn put the choice into the hands of the crowd and there was a resounding vote for ‘You Don’t Know Me’. It’s a song with an unbelievably infectious hook which had the entire room reciting the lyrics word for word by the end. It’s easy to say that the atmosphere was on a high by the time the band left the stage.

Although the night seemed to end somewhat prematurely, I think the band did a great job headlining their own night at a well known venue. For a collective that are still in their early stages, The Stow are rising stars on the scene and their recognition is beginning to gain a momentum that can only get faster.

If you’re a lover of pop music with an indie, Hip Hop twist and a load of personality, this is a band for you. Definitely NOT Just Another Band.

The Stow online: official website / MySpace / Twitter

Photo by Jessica Harris

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