Have you ever really understood the definition of a hip-hop, guitar infused band? If not, you’re definitely not alone. Last Sunday I got the opportunity to interview The LaFontaine’s front man Kerr Okan and attend one of their performances as part of Scotland Week in NYC at Webster Hall. Having seen YouTube videos and hearing great reviews of The LaFontaines, I found myself getting excited for a band that I feel will have great success in the future. As part of the Caledonia Collective Show, were other artists on the rise such as Hector Bizerk, Lau and Nina Nesbitt.
Starting out the Caledonia Collective show at the Webster Hall Studio was an industrial alternative hip-hop group called Hector Bizerk, which consists of drummer Audrey Tait and Rapper Louie. Seeing these two and there energy was amazing. The rapping ability of Louie was definitely one of the bright spots of the night. The group who have only been around for about 3 years, are known for their social lyrics, which revolve around the social circumstances from Scotland. Some of their influences are from KRS-One and Questlove. The two definitely took it as a huge success to be a part of this show and hope to come back and bring their manifestation of hip hop to the U.S.
Next on the bill was the group LAU, who is internationally acclaimed for their folk music. The three, Kris Drever, Aidan O’Rourke and Martin Green, got together thinking of just bringing their expertise to play folk music with a bit of improvisation. What was then just a thought has turned into a masterpiece. With the soothing sounds of an accordion, fiddle and guitar, you will definitely be in for a treat to see them play live. With not many lyrics, the playing definitely moved the crowd at Webster Hall that night and got everyone like myself on board with their music.
Next up was the quiet but amazing Nina Nesbitt. Haven’t heard of Nesbitt?Trust me you will in the next year or so. 19 year old Nesbitt, who has risen to fame rather quickly in Scotland, is starting to make headway in the US, with her appearance at SXSW last month in Austin, TX. While the crowd definitely enjoyed the acts before Nesbitt, everyone was all eyes and ears for her performance. There was even one mother Skyp-ing Nina’s performance back to her daughter at home. It was quite the experience and definitely brought a different aura to the night. With just her guitar and keyboard on stage she had no problem connecting with the audience and played flawlessly through her set. Nesbitt, who states that Ellie Goulding is one of her influences now, never thought that being in the states would happen so soon. She had thought that once she turned 21, she would make the jump, but with this being her second time in NYC, I can positively say she is on a huge road to success and that the world should be watching out for this artist on rise.
Now for the headliners, with not really ever seeing these guys in person, getting to meet them was super fun and energetic. I have never met such awesome guys that just love being on stage and seeing their dreams come true. With their new single “Under the Storm” coming out April 27th, The LaFontaines, were ready for New York to see them live. I felt the crowd was rocking and that there stage presence was phenomenal. Kerr was the “it” factor for the band that night and commanded the stage like they were already a success in the U.S. Kerr who is the front man and rapper of the group, stated earlier in an interview “that people needed to see it, to believe it.” And from where I sit, I believe it. With songs like “Under the Storm”, Light Up The Background” and a cover “Shark in the Water”, their performance was worthy of closing out a great night at the Webster Hall Studio on April 6, 2014.
For more info on the LaFontaines, check out their music at thelafontaines.co.uk/
Words and photos by: Amanda J. Cain