REVIEW: Hidden Machine presents Vokxen – Voodoo, Belfast

hiddenmachinevokxenThursday night saw Hidden Machine present newcomer Vokxen to Voodoo. The all-female musical quartet proved to be a fierce foursome. With astonishing musical capabilities, Vokxen completely wowed with their set.

The evening began with Rebekah Wilson, who took to the stage to perform tracks from her debut E.P “Reprieve“.  She showcased her prodigious musical abilities and self assured stage presence during her set, which she kicked off with debut single “Nothing (Me and You)”.It was a great choice, with it’s beautiful intro, mellow melodic refrains and infectious chorus. Wilson continued the set with “My Mangled Dreams” a heartfelt song featuring strong choruses and a well executed key change. Third song “Imagine” showcased Wilson’s self taught piano playing abilities, which she followed up with a Kate’s Party cover. For her final song, Wilson  played the first song she had ever written, called “One Day More”, which was executed with unquestionable genuine emotion. A natural at easily commanding a room, Wilson’s set showed much musical promise.

Next up was contemporary musician Jess Edlin, accompanied by her drummer Chris McCann. Edlin, along with being proficient at playing viola, guitar and piano, is also a creator of backing tracks. These were incorporated into the set, both complementing and contrasting against the live performances. Edlin’s stage presence was understated, yet very effective. Through the wicked combination of her dreamy vocals, rocky guitar riffs and McCann’s strong rhythmic drumming, Edlin’s performance was hypnotic.  The juxtaposition of  lounge like vocals, which ranged from smooth and sultry to sweet and high against the fast paced tempo set by McCann’s drumming made for fascinating listening.

Edlin’s set consisted of a nice mixture of tunes including,  “Running Circles” a self described “playful fun” song, with catchy chord progressions and some nice guitar picking, “Piano for Dessert” which starts off with a lovely beachy sound,  and  “A.I.” an upbeat tune with slightly eighties sounds. Experimenting with congas and switching between keyboard and electric guitar, McCann and Edlin kept the crowd entertained, proving an essential part of the evening.


New band Shadow Police followed, with their debut performance. The synth-pop duo combined bono-esque strong melodic vocals with lots of eighties style echoing and synthesisers galore. The result was very infectious, nostalgic yet original offering, which was full of heart.

The duo, who freely admitted that this was their first gig, had remarkably calm stage presence, joking and bantering with their audience. They performed their newly released single “Sleep Tonight” alongside a host of other synthy dreampop belters and left many admirers in their wake by the end of their set.

Headliners Vokxen promptly took to the stage, starting their set off with “Dark Side”. It was an instant crowd pleaser, possessing a plethora of impressive harmonies, rocky riffs and incredibly catchy chorus. It was followed by “Captivated,” a song which made the most of the members impressive piano skills and strong feminine vocals. The band’s sound,  a mixture of electro pop, pop and rock impressed the entire audience. Evidently accomplished musicians, the girls performance was also intuitive and tight.

They played several more songs including “This Love is Living Dead” and finished their set off with their newly released tune “Somebody” to rapturous applause. The crowd called for an encore so insistently and genuinely that the girls had to get up and do another impromptu performance. They sang “Hoping“, an upbeat and melodic tune that had half the audience dancing and helped end their set on a high note.

With their talented, experienced musicians and arsenal of catchy tunes,as well as a charming stage presence, Vokxen instantly elevated themselves to a “Must see” act during this performance. Una Mackle, GiggingNI.com