Jennifer Kingwell live on 15 May 2014

Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine.

According to Elvis Presley, that is. Jennifer Kingwell’s ambition is experimental art-pop that combines the drama and flair of cabaret, the energy and immediacy of rock and the vulnerability and intimacy of acoustic solo folk.

On 15 May 2014, Jennifer Kingwell delivered us such a show. And knocked it out of the park.

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How to describe the essence of Jennifer Kingwell’s music? She’s equal parts Kate Bush and Sergei Rachmaninov. She’s a music theory case study with punk rock attitude. There’s theatre and drama in her songs. There’s laughter and nostalgia and riots and ancient myth and kissing and intergalactic love.

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Jennifer herself sings and plays keyboard, and was joined onstage with her band The Garland Thugs – cello, drum kit and electric bass. Together they build an authoritative alt-pop sound. Chad (on drums) and Adam (on bass) lay out a solid rhythm section while Jess (on cello) and Jennifer add their sophisticated and emotional colours to the mix.

Furthermore, Jennifer invited a variety of guest performers on stage – including musicians from her previous two supports and a horn section. It was a diverse set – occasionally Jennifer standing alone with nothing but her ukelele and storytelling, at other times it almost felt as if the musicians would spill off the stage and out into the audience.

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The event was a celebration of Jennifer’s EP launch, and the revelry was strong in this one. Despite the sometimes serious nature of some of the songs, as a whole the event was fun and inclusive. With the rotating roster of musicians, it felt more like we were witnessing an organised jam session with some excellent musicians. Jennifer’s close audience of fans and supporters shared her evident excitement – even requesting songs and singing along.

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This is my motherfucking debut solo EP launch

Jennifer Kingwell has now established herself as a solo artist. She has a distinctive sound, a crack team of musicians and a forward-looking EP. Jennifer doesn’t just have dreams.

She has ambition.

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