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LIVE: Dutch Mustard – The Waiting Room, Stoke Newington, London, 08/12/2023

It’s all so gezellig here. Sarah-Jayne Riedel may have long since left her Netherlands background behind for life in London but she still knows all about the Dutch art of cosiness. The Waiting Room is rammed for this sold out show celebrating Riedel’s new Dutch Mustard EP release, Beauty.

Six years since forming Dutch Mustard it feels like Sarah-Jayne really means business this time. She may not have a prolific back catalogue but the emphasis is always on quality not quantity. Previously there have been glimpses of greatness only for Dutch Mustard to disappear again leaving fans hungry for more. So, quite simply tonight, The Waiting Room can’t wait!

It’s straight into songs from last year’s An Interpretation of Depersonalisation EP including the sublimely punchy ‘What The People Want’ – as arresting as The Duke Spirit and with the urgency of Pit Pony. It’s a formidable start.

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The venue is so packed Sarah-Jayne asks the front row to step forward as it’s getting a little too cosy for those at the back! Now there’s room for people to move to the hypnotic space groove of ‘Wake Up’ from the brand new EP. The gorgeous, dark undercurrents in ‘Magnifique’ follow, before Sarah-Jayne chats about how it’s been a “crazy, crazy year” explaining how she’s been “working really hard to get it together” to bring out some new music and praises everyone who has supported her. It’s a good time to play ‘Beauty’ from that new release, the undulant sweeps and bass loops perfectly complementing Riedel’s fine voice. She’s temporarily deserted by her band for ‘One In A Million’ and joined by support singer Tania Pereira on guitar and vocal harmonies and has her friend Amelia on strings. Introduced as a “heartfelt song” Sarah-Jayne coyly explains, “I don’t know if you guys remember being fifteen unfortunately I do, and this is a song that I wrote when I was fifteen…”. Lusciously understated – she could write songs this good before she was able to vote! 

The gezellig mood is nearly off the scale now, we’re virtually in scented candles, warm bath and soft cushions territory. A good time to visit the sonic cathedral of ‘A Song For Dreamers’ then. It’s shoegaze – but in a good, early Lush/Slowdive 4AD kind of way rather than arrogant, muso noodling nonsense. 

The jaunty, chiming guitar on ‘Dirty Queen’ from the new EP invigorates the front row fans into dancing. There’s even a loud cry of “yeah, rock’n’roll” from the crowd much to Riedel’s amusement which is funny because she then proceeds to really rock out on ‘Drive’ complete with her magnificent soaring vocals.

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Sarah-Jayne admits to wearing her heart on her sleeve and expresses her sadness the gig is almost over “I’ve been so excited to see you all for so many months and now we’ve got only two songs left, but there’s more gigs next year, I promise”.

Ending with something old – the epic ‘Weeping Willow’ from 2019, then something new – ‘Feel Everything’ from the latest EP. She thanks everyone for coming down and tearfully says “you make my life so much better”. There’s also a special mention to her mother who is managing the merch table at the back, publicly promising she’ll buy her mum dinner. 

London has been busily buzzing along above but ensconced here in this laidback basement bar Dutch Mustard stopped the world for an hour of intimate songs and a snug embrace. Gezellig on earth.

Photos: Don Blandford

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.