Live Review: Mad Cool Festival ‘London Sessions’ with Haux and Monarchy @ Koko, London

Mad Cool Festival presented the first of their ‘London Sessions’ events on Tuesday evening at the iconic Koko in Camden, and I was delighted to be in attendance. Fresh from announcing that Queens of the Stone Age will be the first headliner at Mad Cool 2018 (taking place between the 12-14 July in Madrid), the festival got to work to spread the word with the first ‘London Sessions’, a potential series of events to showcase what Mad Cool is about. The event was free with invitation from the Mad Cool website, and it was a great way to kick off proceedings. Featuring American artist Haux and London-based duo Monarchy, it was a night full of smoky electronic synths and eerie atmsopheric vocals.

Opening up was Woodson Black a.k.a Haux, a singer-songwriter and producer from Boston. Beautifully subtle in his approach, he creates wonderful dream-like soundscapes capturing the audience’s attention, but allowing the space for them to wonder off into the music and their own minds and place. It’s music for the arcane and enigmatic type, which can make it difficult to portray and capture in a live setting, but Haux did it wonderfully. Accompanied by neat visuals and lights, and supplemented well by backup musicians, Haux are definitely one to keep tabs on, and if you get the opportunity, to experience for yourself. Here’s a snippet of their live performance of ‘Cologne’.

Next to the stage was the even more enigmatic and delphic duo Monarchy. Masked up with full attire, the duo came with full production and ramped things up, bringing a more energetic style to the night; providing the perfect journey of tempos and sounds, following on from the more subtle sounds of Haux. Monarchy have been around for a while now, enjoying a range of success and frustation, signed and dropped by Mercury Records back in 2010, after only a few months, was just the start in a number of stumbling blocks to come. Their discography of releases is solid though, remixes of Lady Gaga and Jamiroquai and two albums, both released via different labels, has put them in a good place to keep on testing the boundaries, both visualy and sonicaly. Playing old and new tracks, including hits like ‘Living Without You’ and ‘Maybe I’m Crazy’, it was a celebration of the bands versatility, and a sign that the band is back on the journey and ready for another crack at the whip. New track ‘Hula Hoop 8000’ is out now, and here’s a little snippet of them performing a track entitled ‘Dance Like Hell’.

With the festival season slowly creeping up and announcements coming in left, right and centre, Mad Cools ‘London Sessions’ initiative was a fantastic way to showcase the festivals brand name. Both Haux and Monarchy complimented each other well, and enabled the night to have a real flow to it, which can often not be the case. Taking elements of 80s electronic synth , folk music and pop, both artists brought their different styles to the stage brilliantly, and with new music and more live performances in the pipeline, it’ll be great to catch them again in the near future.

You can keep up to date with the various announcements, new music and gigs from Haux and Monarchy, and Mad Cool Festival via the links below.



Mad Cool Festival:

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