Since discovering my lot in life is to walk past venues three times, entrusting Citymapper to lead me the right way and never learning, I’ve had the chance to check out a few great gigs. The first of these was the double bill of Mally Harpaz and Hazel Iris.
Alongside playing with Hazel, Anna Calvi and Ciara Clifford to name a few, Mally Harpaz is an accomplished, experienced musician, debuting some of her own compositions at The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington. As the basement of a pub called The Three Crowns, the little room and accompanying bar was as warm as it was welcoming and I was the tallest one there who took a seat on the floor as the actual gig started so other people could see. My hair might be a dirty punk mix of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, but sometimes I have manners.
I got to see Mally and Hazel earlier on in the summer when they played a showcase, so I was excited to hear a bigger set and even more to hear Mally’s compositions live. The backdrop consisted of videos by visual artist Clara Aparicio Yoldi, whose videos several of those compositions scored. I described Clara’s work to somebody as a Lumiere installation (Iconosfera) gone David Lynch rogue (Phoebus). Wholly different and equally moving. Mally’s music suits them well.
Mally opened the set. Seeing a musician you admire go from a drumkit to a keyboard and play their music like they were stripped straight off recordings but have it be live is a wicked experience, and getting to be at a gig that felt like the beginning of Something Big was pretty special. Mally transitioned between both flawlessly and was backed up by other talented people doing other talented things. I’m really excited to see more of her shows and to see what else she’s got up her sleeve.
The second half of the show was Hazel Iris. I’ve dubbed her the Storyteller, even though she’s much more comforting to speak to than John Hurt’s and her stories, while at times horrifying (a toilet roll being on the holder the wrong way), paint whatever picture she’d like you to see.
With Mally on drums and a fab musician whose name I didn’t catch on an electric double bass I wanted to devour with a spoon (except not because it was too beautiful to die and too wild to live), Hazel’s music brought a stark contrast and great companion to Mally’s. Aka the kind of oxymoron that tickles the senses. Aka I love the word oxymoron almost as much as impasse but there’s nothing about either Hazel Iris or Mally Harpaz and their art that is impassable.
The Waiting Room gig was the first of several shows Mally Harpaz and Hazel Iris will be doing together, and if that was the first, I can’t wait for the rest.
More pictures from the gig: