Are You Listening? is a recent addition to Reading's ever growing and vibrant music & arts scene. Forming part of the town's yearly schedule of "takeover" festivals, its excellent work raises money in partnership with local charity Reading Mencap. For £20, you get a wristband, access to multiple venues and more power-packed live music than you can cram into 12 hours.
With a good selection of female led/gender balanced performers, here's a fun size review of a few acts I caught that day (23 April 2016).
Running With Fairies
Running With Fairies (Nicole Allen and Alice Reay) are a smouldering acoustic duo specialising in country-based Americana. With gorgeous close harmonies and deep guitar riffs, the pair teeter on the edge of climatic country-blues. Although there is a slight sense of holding back, it's ideal for relaxed afternoon listening.
Running With Fairies play The Rising Sun Arts Centre, Reading on 27 May.
Eddie Prové (supported by female singer and keyboard/electronics).
Stunning, smooth vocals reminiscent of 90's clubland soul - topped with a sprinkling of laid back Mac-based tracks - make Eddie's sound über relevant in 2016. If you like seductive sounds to get your groove on to - this is for you.
Eddie's debut EP, Silent Love, is out on 13 May.
She Makes War
The multitalented She Makes War (Laura Kidd) effortlessly fuses a set of hypnotic acoustic guitar/ukulele, electronica, and a cappella loop tracks to create a bold, daring musical experience. Heartfelt and moving, the room hangs on her every beautiful breath. My pick of the day.
She Makes War - Direction of Travel is out now.
Big Deal (Kacey Underwood and Alice Costelloe)
This dynamic, gender-balanced band emit enough energy in a live set to power a small town. They serve high-power rock electronica, a side of pop - and lashings of ice-cool charisma. With haunting harmonies, spine tingling chords and thumping percussion, Big Deal are the perfect end to a rock and roll weekend.
Big Deal's new album, Say Yes, is out on 10 June.