A few weeks back (ARGH, WHERE DID JANUARY GO?) I had the pleasure of spending the night at Century, a members club hidden behind a inconspicuous door on London's Shaftesbury Avenue.
I was there not just to revel in the swish surroundings but specifically for Laid Bare Live, a brilliant live music night offering up the best unsigned musicians, singers and poets this great city has produced and providing a platform for up-and-coming talent to play to the masses. Luckily for the music heads, it's a regular monthly event and I think you should check it out.
Firstly, some history. Laid Bare Live began as an open mic night in 2013 at The Ritzy in Brixton, South London organised by the polymathic Rami Radi - a Brixton-based musician, producer and mixer, editor, podcast host and cameraman. Rami was inspired by his time organising music nights at university and participating in open mic nights in London. With drive and passion, in time he developed the event into an acoustic night called Laid Bare Live, sourcing and securing a multifarious group of talented acts along the way.
Laid Bare has been going strong for two years and in January Rami built on its strong foundations with the creation of a record label called Laid Bare Records. The label recently celebrated its first EP release from singer-songwriter Chris Belson, the exquisite Moon Songs, with a sound being compared to Radiohead.
Laid Bare Live now boasts additional residencies at eclectic venues such as Brixton East, Fu Manchu Bar and Hackney Attic. Each show is carefully curated by Rami with quality performances from local artists showcasing their talent.
My first Laid Bare experience was memorable. Century club is beautiful in its own right, boasting four floors including a cocktail lounge, two restaurants, a screening bar and a performance stage but Rami’s decision to host his event up on the covered roof terrace, apparently Soho’s largest, was inspired.
With exposed brickwork chimneys, a scattering of fairy lights and unbeatable views of London Town in all its glory, when you reach the top you have to stop and take it all in for a minute before even thinking about the bar. It's intimate without being poky and with lanterns emanating a warm wintry glow it creates the perfect setting for great live music.
With the quality of musicians on offer, a guest list available at just £3 upon request and THAT venue it’s easy to see why Rami draws a crowd - and a friendly, unpretentious one at that, happily chatting in between acts and grabbing a beer.
On the night all the artists and their acoustic sets were brilliant, but it was Daniel Greenwood whose music seemed to stay with me afterwards. He has a lovely Dylan-esque sound, plays the harmonica like a pro, and his cover of Ryan Adams’ Come Pick Me Up had me scrambling around on YouTube to hunt it down.
Doors open at 7pm, don’t be late now…