by Abbie Morrice
Upon entering the Hillhead Community Centre for the first event organised by the university’s new Live Music Society, we were informed that the first performer would only go on stage once more people had arrived. About half the gigs I’ve been to have seen their first act play their set to absolutely no one except the other performers, which, I felt, was a fate Kitchen Sync would have to accept. But as a gig designed to showcase the talents of students, it was fair of them to not force anyone to play to an almost empty room. The first and second acts of the night – Gabe and Metodej and His Uke – played on a beautifully set-up stage to a fairly disinterested audience who seemed like they had walked into the wrong room. As both sets were good, I was left to wonder if the right location had been picked – but this was a thought that only came later in the evening. I believe the confusion laid in Kitchen Sync being advertised as a gig rather than a mix-bag showcase ranging from first-time performers to well-seasoned musicians who already had entire albums released. There is a market for this exact kind of event in Aberdeen, and at the beginning of the evening, I felt this market wouldn’t exist in Hillhead Student Halls. But by the end of the night, it was truly fantastic to see a room full of people, including some who were not regular gig-goers, enjoy live music (and who made me extremely jealous that such events didn’t exist when I lived at Hillhead).
My personal highlights were Jade & Jonny – an acoustic duo – and Hamlet Collective – a jazz fusion band that presented such a fun performance that I watched someone save their album on Spotify immediately after the frontman plugged it. I didn’t initially believe placing first-time performers on a bill with experienced musicians was a good idea. Yet, it was an idea that ended up showcasing a healthy mix of abilities which I believe is more encouraging for people wanting to get up on stage who don’t know that delivering an absolutely perfect performance is not (and should not) be the only goal. It shows progression in musical ability; not taking oneself too seriously and just wanting to portray what the group have rehearsed thus far. Although part of the theme is clearly centred around taking place in a community kitchen, I think Kitchen Sync should expand – grab more students who have never played live before and advertise the evening as a showcase of a month’s work. There are plenty of bands in Scotland spending a year or so mastering mediocre music and expecting to be signed after one gig; but Aberdeen could really encourage first-timers to delve into live music if more events like this existed.