Moonchild at 02 Forum Kentish Town

The balmy, jazz-inclined, neo-soul trio from Los Angeles drew out the tail end of summer in a rainy north London

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Moonchild. Left to right: Amber Navran, Andris Mattson and Max Bryk

This had been a concert long in the running. Originally scheduled for February, but due to the “reality of COVID”, the show was pushed back to late September. In the end, it seemed an appropriate time to reschedule with much of the crowd still clinging on to those summer feelings that run so vibrantly through Moonchild’s sound.

The evening began with support from an informal, comedic and community-driven artist named Austin Antoine hailing from Washington, DC. His sensitively written hooks and rap verses successfully kept the audience’s attention, physically as well as emotionally. There was a clear loving homage to 90s hip hop throughout his set complemented by appropriate samples (A Tribe Called Quest).

The secondary support came from London-based singer Emmavie, providing that R&B flavour noticeable in Moonchild’s music although with a distinctive London twist. Again, thee was the expected audience participation, though not quite to Antoine’s level of success. Her engaging vocals and catchy hooks were reminiscent of Erykah Badu while her fashion not quite.

The stage was soon cleared for the main attraction. Their well-loved, futuristic, space-age sound was there from the very start, underlining their popularity with enthusiasts of jazz and neo-soul. Moonchild’s unique feel continued to resonate throughout the performance on favourites such as Wise Women, Too Good and The Truth. The psychedelic visuals accompanying the musical magic contributed to a set which was all about the atmosphere, and they delivered that in spades.

The group’s quirky horn arrangements and pleasing harmonies were well executed and even flowered into solo snippets from each member – something we don’t hear often on the records. A selection of their bigger hits were reimagined as unplugged versions which included acoustic guitars and handheld percussion. This mid-set interlude gave a chance for Amber Navran’s signature vocalisations to take centre stage.

The West Coast aura Moonchild brought certainly gave their audience a moment to escape the cold and rainy evening in Kentish Town. The evening was capped off with a surprise moment where Andris Mattson left the stage and joined the audience parading around with his flugelhorn.

This was their biggest show to date, and its success suggested we’ll be seeing them again live very soon.

Moonchild at the 02 Forum Kentish Town, London, 30 September 2022.