Today the Olympic Park gasped as Larissa Eddie took a gamble and pitched herself to battle the epitome of killer heels... luckily gravity was on her side and there were no Naomi Campbell moments, just widespread shoe envy from her female audience. Still having a visual presence just as striking as her perfect pop voice proved a massive draw to the stage for many passers by. One spectator came to meet Larissa as she emerged from backstage to congratulate her on her performance saying 'that was amazing! I came down thinking it was Christina Aguilera or something!'
Now, the more cynical amongst us may not take that as a compliment...but we understand what she was getting at. Larissa has that same ability to electrify every song with the sheer vocal power that dominates her songwriting. She's captivating, prime for mainstream audiences... but we hope she never feels the urge to don a pair of leather chaps and head down the whole 'Dirrty' route. Oh, Christina. Instead, Larissa is an absolute doll- see for yourself in this interview we had with her and her guitarist, Joe.
Liz Lawrence returned for a second day at the Paralympics this week doing both a solo set and a couple with a fuller band in the evening. Every time she had us completely transfixed on the stage and with each trademark stamp of her feet we became more wrapped up in the rhythm of her sound. It reached out across the vast audience of people at the Park, from the littlest little 'uns twirling around at the front of the stage to the most wizened old dears causing havoc in Olympic Park mobility scooters. There are all the others in between too, of course. When her band were at their full strength at the Games, we sat down with them behind the Bandstand to see how their day was going. Before you book an appointment at Specsavers, you're right- there are two of them. And yes, they do look the same.
Our absolute darling of the day was Miss Alice Watts, backed with her band of mates who all put in a cracking set of performances. Her reception to the Bandstand was really warm- the instant likeability of the Camden singer making for a wonderfully comfortable vibe around the stage as people enjoyed the few moments of sunshine.
Despite it's folky veneer, Alice's live performances bring much more to the stage than other musicians of the genre. There may be the inclusions of guitar and a sweet, feminine vocal... but by throwing in Joel's beatboxing to replace percussion gave her show a real twist, and a bit of an edge. Landing this slot at the Games actually meant even more to Alice than met the eye, as we discovered that athletics used to be such a big part of her life that she used to dream of competing at the Olympics. Well, we've sort-of half fixed it for her. Jim would be proud. Here's Alice telling us more about her time with Emerging Icons at the Olympic Park.
Talking of good atmosphere, our rendez-vous with Longfellow was absolute bliss today. They had quite a busy day of busking around the park, happily grappling with over-enthusiastic Norwegian folk who decided to dance with them- as you do. They also got a little taste of their international rockstar future by being asked for an interview by a Japanese magazine that had checked them out in the press area. The checking out of which we speak is purely in artistic terms... although we guess we will never know what the title of the magazine means. Whether it's their version of NME or Pretty Indie Boys Weekly, all press is good press, right?
On their return to the bandstand we immediately sensed just how much they impressed the late afternoon crowd. They were, in one very cheesy word, spellbound. Heads were nodding, hands were clapping, and camera phones were filming the stage as far as the eye could see. The professional quality of every track sounds so ready for radio that it feels hard to believe that you haven't heard them before. Longfellow really do have it all. The charisma, the stage presence, the music- it can only be a matter of time until they're as much of a household name as Chris Martin or Mumford & Sons. It's a deserved future for these lads because as you'll see from this interview, they're bloody lovely.