Review: Sivu’s Something On High at Exeter Phoenix

Sivu II

Photo credit: Facebook

On February 28th, I went and saw Sivu, and I can honestly say it was one of the best gigs of my entire life. It wasn’t really what I had in mind: I usually associate live music with feeling hectic, sweaty and as though all my limbs are on fire, but Sivu gave me something very different. It was an evening of gentle and honest music, played mainly on an acoustic guitar, with the aid of one backing singer, a loop pedal, and a drum machine. Attended by around 60 people, it was a rather different experience at the Exeter Phoenix than those that have been at Earl’s Court, Wembley stadium or Alexandra Palace.

So who is Sivu? 25 year old James Page from St Ives ‘but not the one in Cornwall, the shit one’, is a shy and endearing talent, who is going to break onto the music scene in a big way sometime soon.

In the past, I’ve heard his music being described as haunting – a statement which I very much agree with. The thin Jack White-esque falsetto, alongside the intriguing, intertwined lyrics which run throughout the album ‘Something On High’ and hollow, yet equally rich guitar parts, all contribute to the eerie undercurrent. Comparisons are (obviously) drawn between him and Jack Steadman of Bombay Bicycle Club, but in him I also see Beck, and Thom Yorke-circa ‘Creep’. Although not quite an angst-ridden, atmospheric alternative rocker, that same unearthly purity is very evident in Sivu’s music. Although eerie, there is some comfort to be sought in this artist – the combination of his sensible humour, quirky anecdotes and occasional swear word were delighted in by him and audience alike.

Someone in Birmingham told me my chat was shit, so I hope this is ok.

Sivu’s vulnerability allowed him to really connect with his audience. Every song silenced those watching in a way I’d never experienced, and this atmosphere was broken only by the man himself. His genuine gratitude and honesty was only further reinforced in the way that he showed the audience his love, describing his first headline tour as ‘a birthday party that your mum throws you when you’re a kid, and you don’t know if anyone’s gonna come. Thank you so much for coming.’

What I liked most about Sivu was how he made me feel. The whole evening, I felt as though I was alone in the room with him. He was entrancing, endearing and a real, raw, honest talent.

Bethany Brooks

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