When you are used to seeing someone on a stage in front of a huge festival crowd, any other context seems weird. And, even though I’ve seen Birdpen a few times now, not hearing a huge crowd behind me still feels pretty bizarre.

This is what happens when a member of a collective that’s quite well known – in this case, Dave from Archive – tours small venues with their other band. But the number of people attending the show makes no difference to Dave Pen, Mike Bird and their live band, and they proved it with an incredibly good show at The Islington.

It makes sense that the band are at the top of their game, since their crowdfunding campaign on PledgeMusic to issue their third album, In The Company of Imaginary Friends, exceeded expectations and ended 13 days before the end of the campaign with an impressive 154 percent of goal attained.

Still, there’s a huge difference between a good live band and an amazing live band, and even though what makes a band great live is difficult to pinpoint, Birdpen definitely are one of those. Supported by young singer-songwriter Mike Wyatt, they delivered a heavy, hypnotising, soul-crushing show, whose only flaw was that it only lasted a little bit less than an hour and a half.

Birdpen are now off to play the rest of Europe, ending their tour on 20 November 2014 in Milan.


Written by: Jillian Blandenier

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