Two Pounds Down
Old Con Club, Malvern
Saturday 2 September 2023
The venue, OCC, was comfortably full with an expectant crowd, there was no polite waiting at the back, these fans were front liners, cheering and chanting way before the band even stepped on stage.
Two Pounds Down have created an absolute buzz around Malvern and beyond this summer, only last year this three quarters teen band, (Ethan being the eldest at a senior 23) played their first gig at Mapp Fest 2022, and in 2023 have sprinted to their current worthy position as national winners of Amped Battle of the Bands.
Songwriters, Jesse and James bring a complimentary contrast to their unique sound. Jesse’s soaring vocal range is complimented with James’s fast talk rap hacks, Ethan grounds with a sound base root and Gabe’s intuitive drums form a solid time frame for the sounds within.
Green is their tribute to the Malvern home that has raised and inspired them and played in at OCC, in the shadow of the hills, brought a visible connection with the bouncing audience, an enchanted moment of linking people with place through creativity and music.
There is a visible euphoria they exude as they play, yet an earthy wholeness through their lyrics which ground the artists and their performance. They play their own songs confidently, and already have a tribe of followers able to sing along to Chicago and Jaded Sympathies.
They have thrown in the odd cover, which I think works well and give a benchmark to new ears as to how safe they are with their accomplishments, Who Shot the Sheriff has been adapted into a dance ballad that I’m sure even Bob Marley would have smiled and skanked to.
Their songs can carry you in a dance euphoria yet keep you tethered with an earthly poetic pop undercurrent. They have blended dance, funk, blues and jazz with honest lyrics, telling of heart ache and happiness and connecting with the places they love, the green they crave and appreciate.
There are so many artists I could put into their cocktail sound, perhaps the most obvious are Tom Odell for heartrending vocal and keyboard combo, Jamiroquai’s dance funk jazz and chilled soul vocals, Finley Quay’s laid-back mash up of trip hop and reggae soul, but ultimately they are unique. Two Pounds Down exude a pure joy in their performance and the moments when they are in absolute unity as a band and with an audience is acknowledged in beaming grins between them, to know this, and to recoginise these moments, will take them far, they already play with the audience not just to them, a craft that often takes many decades to perfect.
They are right to bathe in the success that 2023 has brought them, soaring to success on the back of clear talent, hard work and well delivered live gigs. Yet, like their music, I’m sure they can stay grounded and having met their incredibly supportive network of family and friends, they should be able to ride their current trajectory with their own passion and instincts and some well placed wisdom from those in the industry.
This was a farewell gig, yet it’s obvious their return to the Malvern nest, whenever that may be along, will be much anticipated and greeted with even louder chants than Saturday Night.
Brighton is lucky to have you Two Pounds Down, but don’t loose your bearings, your home crowd awaits you and we all need to be going somewhere green!
By: Juliet Mootz