Venue: Hoxton Bar and Kitchen Date: 27/01/10 Website: If indeed, as their moniker suggests, this band are in fact the combined offspring of messrs Noel and Adrian, then these two men might possibly be in the running as being the most potently fertile men on the planet (if not biological wonders). With a headcount of near Polyphonic Spree proportions, the ten (yes that’s TEN) members of SONAA jostle for position on the cramped stage at Hoxton Bar and Kitchen. With instruments ranging from cello and ukulele to the oft neglected clarinet, a few bars into their opening number you can’t help but worry for their safety as they collectively try not to take an eye out with a bow or lop a head or two off with a bass drum stick. Overcrowding aside, the sound they produce is certainly a compelling one. With enigmatic and monosyllabic frontman Jacob Richardson driving the progressive folk ditties along deftly with some highly impressive guitar picking - one can only assume that the work of Bert Jansch and Davy Graham are never too far from Jacob’s ears. Jacob’s willowy vocals float hauntingly over the top of darkly ethereal melodies, which encourages the appreciative crowd to stand and stare, misty eyed. Unfortunately, and I will give SONAA the benefit of the doubt in this case, the lack of space on stage creates a slightly static affair, perhaps taking something away from the live experience, which is mirrored by the predominantly motionless crowd. With none of the action packed instrument swapping seen in the live shows of the likes of Arcade Fire, they need to find a special something to make them stand out from the crowd, particularly since the recent influx of multi instrumentalist folk bands on the live circuit. They look and sound like a wholesome bunch – there is something of a ‘local community band’ feel to them, with their polite on stage banter and sensible clothes, so when the lyric ‘eight bottles of gin – that’s the trouble we’re in’ fills the room, it seemed a little odd coming from a band who look like the strongest drink they’ve ever consumed is a double shot soya latte with carob sprinkles. Unless, of course, they shared the 8 bottles between the ten of them, which seems less ‘trouble’ and more ‘slightly boozy dinner party’. Ultimately, however, on seeing SONAA live, you are left with a feeling of awe at the musicianship, particularly from Jacob and guitarist Tom Cowan on the multi layered ‘Damien’, and a warm fuzzy feeling inside, but I was also left yearning to see them in a more suitable setting. If this lot aren’t on the line up for Green Man Festival this year, then the world is a messed up place.