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Rock the Strand’s Last Gig of 2017: Heavenly Voices

Usually SEEN likes to preview Rock the Strand but it’s not on for the next two months as Christmas looms at the Lounge Bar of the Strand Palace Hotel, so instead, allow me to tell you about the acts that were on, their last night of 2017…

First up was the ethereal Abbey Burns, whose sweet voice bought a hush to the normally noisy Lounge Bar. Her songs – some covers, some her own and collaborations were sometimes mournful and all the better for it. Love songs are more interesting when love is a torment. Abbie had great stage presence. Though physically small she became the still centre of the room, singing and accompanied by her acoustic guitar.

Next, it was the turn of Joel Bailey, so accomplished on his guitar and mouth organ and with a lovely smoky voice that sang wry songs about modern life in London. He’s a favourite of the entrepreneurial Tony Moore and it’s easy to see why; he has an easygoing and confident manner with an audience.

Last and by no means least came the fabulous Ilona, celebrating the release of ‘Safety Net’ (one of their best in SEEN’s humble opinion). Lead singer Ilona’s voice was in fine form. The small and intimate stage in the Lounge Bar very nearly couldn’t contain their energy and enthusiasm. The room became packed as guests from the Strand Palace Hotel were drawn in to watch, joining a steady band of Rock the Strand regulars who know a good thing when they hear it. Tony Moore (also part of Ilona’s band – does this man never sleep?) held it all together with effortless ease; a sign of someone doing what he loves.

Rock the Strand is a fabulous free night out in a great venue. SEEN looks forward to it starting again in the New Year. Heavenly voices, indeed.

Buy Ilona’s ‘Safety Net’ here.

The Strand Palace Hotel
372 Strand