The Attic, Totton

Tonight we are at The Attic in Southampton for the debut of Carley Varley’s live band; Carley has been a professional performer and singer/songwriter for quite some time, with the ambition to deliver her original songs with a full band live when the time is right. After some diligent careful recruitment the new band features Alex Tompkins (Daniel Radcliffe Look-alike) on Guitar, Fred Sedgeley on Drums and Jordan Shepherd (Brent from Shinedown look-alike) on Bass. The idea is to take Carley’s songs that were originally written on an acoustic guitar to the next level. There have been plenty of rehearsals along the way that should make this first gig really memorable.

Before Carley and her band arrive there are a matter of 3 support acts to warm up the crowd before the headliners. The first of these is Little Whyte Lies, an acoustic duo comprising of guitarist Phoenix Paterson from Lincoln and violinist Natalie Langer who is originally from Prague.

A twist of fate has brought them together and when they arrive onstage the musical chemistry between them is significant. We are treated to some well created original tracks including “Time Zones”, which features some wonderful harmonies and “Hung up on You” with an emotive Violin section.

A reworked cover of Britney Spears “Toxic” ends their set and the duo get an enthusiastic round of applause for their great evenings work.

Little Whyte Lies
Little Whyte Lies 1

Next up is promising local Southampton youthful singer-songwriter India Rose with her band. Her Pop/R&B-influenced styles are a delight to watch and the small but noisy crowd are with her from the off. A mixed set comprises originals including “You & Me “, her recent single “Compliment” and a great track called “Playlist”. There is also a version of Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On”, which India Rose absolutely nails. A confident and mature performance from one so young, showing off loads of potential for her future.

India Rose
India Rose 1

The final support act of the evening is Mia Grace who tonight performs live for the first time with her brother William on acoustic guitar. From her first number “Not Enough”, Mia lights up the room with some well delivered vocals and a bubbly forthright personality. Her songs are meticulously delivered in a heartfelt way and you cannot fail to be warmed by her performance. With tracks like “Not Enough”, “Lemonade” and a cover of Blackstreet and Dr. Dre’s “No Diggity”, Mia and Will enchant the audience with their wondrous presentation. One of the highlights of the set is a powerfully emotive track called “Fear”, an original composition inspired by the death of Sarah Everard in London in 2021. It’s great to see a songwriter tackling difficult issues and succeeding. Mia and Will work really well together and really complementing each other. This may be only their first performance together, but I hope audiences will be treated to a whole lot more in the future.

Mia Grace
Mia Grace 1

After a quick turnaround it’s now time for tonight’s headliners. Carley admits she is nervous beforehand as she feels there is a lot at stake with this new project. Also, she and the band have invested a lot of time in putting this all together. The crowd has now swelled to around 50 people, with many of Carley’s family and friends amongst them. The support is eminent as she and the three lads take to the stage – her nerves seem to evaporate as she gets through the first number. If you have had the pleasure of hearing some of her material you will already know that she is a more than competent musician and singer/songwriter. However, adding some additional electric guitar and rhythms is certainly a real game changer (live) for her songs.

Carley Varley
Carley Varley 123

Prominently opening number “Better Without Me” and the moving “Somehow I’m Alive” really show Carley’s Pop/Punk-influenced styles with the band really showing their worth with some fine instrumentation. Along with the originals there are a few covers with “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters; and a couple of tracks by Carley’s favourite band Paramore, along with a track by Taylor Swift “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” with Carley admitting she was a closet “Swifty” and she had to bribe the band into playing it with some of her baking. Having the band gives this singer some of the freedom she lacked with her solo work, I’m sure as things progress with more performances and larger audiences this project should whole-heartedly flourish.

A fantastic evening in the company of some very talented musicians and I feel privileged to have witnessed some of these admirable quality performances.

Carley Varley
Set List
Better Without Me
Somehow I’m Alive
I’m Not Angry Anymore
Going Under
Everlong (Foo Fighters)
Running Out of Time (Paramore)
Still Into You (Paramore)
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (Taylor Swift)



Article & Media by David Chinery (Chinners).

Carley Varley