Kira Mac / Evidence Of Something Special Happening In Norwich

It’s Sunday night at Norwich’s Waterfront Studio, and a long line snakes down the road. Half the people are queuing to see The Cure tribute band downstairs while everyone else waits patiently to be let upstairs to witness Kira Mac and Jayler.

Kira Mac – Jayler

Waterfront Studio, Norwich – 5 May 2024

Words: Paul Monkhouse

Photography: Kira Mac – Laurence Harvey / Jayler – Denis Gorbatov

It’s a pleasing sight, both rooms promising to be full, and the attraction of seeing something up close and personal is stronger than any arena show. 

Certainly, the bands appearing upstairs are busy paying their dues, working hard on the road and putting in the miles, eschewing any easy routes to fame in this age of dominant social media. Here, the sweat was real, and the interaction was on a connective and human level. It was a night to play loud. 

Kira Mac

With her towering Valkyrie presence and huge, bluesy voice, Kira Mac’s Rhiannon Hill certainly makes a massive impression as the band kicks into opener Save Your Whiskey, its Southern Rock flavours hitting all the right spots. 

With longtime friend and writing partner, guitarist Joe Worrall, by her side, Hill radiates pure joy from the first note onwards, her obvious enthusiasm infectious as she makes use of every inch of the stage. Next up, the hard-rocking Dead Man Walking punches like a heavyweight, the crowd already moving as one as the big riffs and hooks do their work.

Kira Mac - Waterfront Studio, Norwich - 5 May 2024. Photo: Laurence Harvey
Kira Mac – Waterfront Studio, Norwich – 5 May 2024. Photo: Laurence Harvey

There’s a charisma here that really works, and even when Hill states that “this is like Middle Earth around here,” everyone takes the joke as it’s meant. The singer’s natural warmth and honesty shine through all night, often in hilarious ways. 

When the band aren’t tearing the place down with numbers like the pneumatic Play The Game, pounding hard rocker No Way Out and Southern-fried Scorned, there’s a bounce here that’s unambiguously meant for fun, the pop-tinged AOR of Never Going To Stay a burst of blinding sunshine. 

Kira Mac - Waterfront Studio, Norwich - 5 May 2024. Photo: Laurence Harvey
Kira Mac – Waterfront Studio, Norwich – 5 May 2024. Photo: Laurence Harvey

Stripping things back, a four-song acoustic section brings some real soul to the night, the naked voice and purely acoustic guitar letting the numbers breathe with their own life. 

Things soon get turned up again with the bluster of Ride The Lightning and a gloriously twisted cover of Alanis Morrisette’s You Oughta Know before a race to the finish sees one high octane rocker after another. 

Kira Mac - Waterfront Studio, Norwich - 5 May 2024. Photo: Laurence Harvey
Kira Mac – Waterfront Studio, Norwich – 5 May 2024. Photo: Laurence Harvey

Sweetly, the night pauses for everyone to sing happy birthday to Mrs Hill senior, who is manning the merchandise desk for her daughter, a bunch of flowers passed from the stage to the back of the hall.

With the heavy-duty attack of Downfall and One Way Ticket closing the night amply showing that the band can handle crushing heaviness, blues and country with equal aplomb, it was nothing less than a well-deserved victory lap for the quartet. 

Kira Mac - Waterfront Studio, Norwich - 5 May 2024. Photo: Laurence Harvey
Kira Mac – Waterfront Studio, Norwich – 5 May 2024. Photo: Laurence Harvey

Kira Mac proved yet again that there’s something special happening here and with talent this big and bold, the stages and halls are just going to keep getting larger. 

A true star is most certainly amongst us.

Kira Mac - Waterfront Studio, Norwich - 5 May 2024. Photo: Laurence Harvey
Kira Mac – Waterfront Studio, Norwich – 5 May 2024. Photo: Laurence Harvey
Jayler

Kicking things off, young Midlands quartet Jayler are starting to make quite a name for themselves, their enthusiastic take on prime ’70s hard rock their blueprint. Certainly, you have got four talented musicians there onstage who are just at the start of their careers, self-penned numbers like Acid Rain and No Woman showing real promise as the band tears into everything with youthful gusto. 

Jayler - Waterfront Studio, Norwich - 5 May 2024. Photo: Denis Gorbatov
Jayler – Waterfront Studio, Norwich – 5 May 2024. Photo: Denis Gorbatov

They know the moves and declare openly their love of the bands that conquered the globe some half-century ago, wanting to bring back that excitement and sound. But there is an issue currently, and it’s quite a big one that, whilst not insurmountable, needs to be dealt with.

What Jayler need to work on presently is creating an individual image for themselves. To see a band so in thrall to Led Zeppelin that they copy large chunks of the look and the sound, a section in Lovemaker copies the legends so closely as to be painful. And with exact mannerisms and the use of a violin bow during a solo, it’s all a bit too much. 

Jayler - Waterfront Studio, Norwich - 5 May 2024. Photo: Denis Gorbatov
Jayler – Waterfront Studio, Norwich – 5 May 2024. Photo: Denis Gorbatov

Whilst Greta Van Fleet may have already trodden this path, with Kingdom Come way before them, it’s debatable that the world needs another clone, even if they’re fellow Black Country dwellers. 

There’s a lot of promise here, and the band have made great strides since forming a scant two years ago. A long, hard look at what they’re trying to project might see them continue their rise. 

Let’s hope so, as the world needs more young acts not afraid to turn the amps up to eleven.

Jayler - Waterfront Studio, Norwich - 5 May 2024. Photo: Denis Gorbatov
Jayler – Waterfront Studio, Norwich – 5 May 2024. Photo: Denis Gorbatov

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