May 24th 2017
I’m standing in the underground ‘vault’ that is Cabaret Voltaire on Edinburgh’s Blair Street. The space is filling up quickly and I’m instantly taken back to my weekends spent in Edinburgh watching live bands in the likes of Electric Circus and Sneaky Pete’s. I’m wearing my t-shirt from The Cavern Club and wonder to myself why I stopped attending live music events in Edinburgh. I decide that I need to start again.
I’m here to watch Into The Ark - a duet made up by 2 Welsh lads, Taylor Jones and Dane Lloyd.
Shamefully, I didn’t actually know about them until I seen them on this year’s ‘The Voice UK’. I’m not usually one for these singing shows… I sit on the side of the fence that believes shows like ‘The X Factor’ strip away raw talent and leave us with generic artists that just get lost in the big sea that we call ‘the top 40 chart’ with all the other generic artists. No offence, Simon!
But this one Saturday back in February I was sitting with my parents and they were watching The Voice, naturally it was them watching the show and definitely not me ;-).
These 2 lads walked onto my screen and started singing their rendition of Elvis’ ‘Burning Love’. Taking (and changing) an Elvis song ain’t no mean feat - but these guys aced it and it was nice to finally see an act with this much raw talent and passion on a show like this. Kudos to The Voice for supporting artists like this - Max Vickers was another standout act. I was hooked on the show after seeing them.
As it turns out, Into The Ark didn’t win the show (even though I went as far as downloading The Voice app to throw my vote into the hat - jeez, I’m such a reality TV fan now!). They came in as the runner-ups. I think that’s probably a blessing in disguise for the guys, especially after seeing them at Cab Vol.
When I heard ITA were doing a tour around the country, I knew I had to get along to one of their shows and I knew I had to photograph the show. I wanted photos, firstly for selfish reasons - I have a feeling these guys are gonna make it big (it would be a travesty to music if they didn’t) and I want to be able to say ‘I was there’. But I also wanted to take photos to share with the guys - because it’s bloody hard to find people willing to give in the creative industries.
So, yep, I was a massive fan of Into The Ark after watching ‘The Voice’ but holy moly, I wasn’t expecting the show that was presented to the audience at Cabaret Voltaire. These guys have got soul. They are passionate about what they are singing and allow the audience to visualize their lyrics - which, by the way, are unbelievable.
I was totally blown away and I say that as a firm fan of meaningful music. I was intrigued by these guys when I was watching The Voice due to their ardent performances but they were singing cover songs - albeit well - and it’s difficult to see who an artist really is until they are singing their own songs (probably why so many of these talent show winners are rarely heard of again).
But at this gig in Cab Vol, the lads are given a stage to perform their own lyrics, their own music, with their own authenticity. And let me tell you, I'm rendered speechless and I'm in complete awe at their stunning lyrics and breathtaking soul. I actually forget I'm here to take photographs for a few moments and just want to enjoy the show without being stuck behind the camera.
If there’s one thing to learn from going to watch live music events (which I urge you to do) it’s that there is so much wonderful music in this world that we will just never get to hear. Break yourself away from the mainstream pop music and go find some raw talent. I’m glad that Into The Ark didn’t slip under my radar.
Here are some photos from their gig at Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh. The guys are touring with Tom Jones this year - go get yourself a ticket :-). I’m now a proud owner of their EP and will sport my Into The Ark t-shirt on my trip to Nashville in August! Taking you guys Stateside! :P