Live Review: The Ninth Wave

Live Reviews

 

It’s fair to say that the Ninth Wave aren’t quite like any other band. From their stylish gothic aesthetics to their vibrant, post-punk tinged tracks, the band haven’t put a foot wrong since their exciting shift that was solidified with the release of their debut EP ‘Reformation’ last year. It therefore doesn’t come as much of a surprise to see that everything about their London gig has been planned carefully and thoughtfully- from the unorthodox yet hugely innovative choice of venue, bringing an atmospheric show to the Sebright Arms featuring a certain degree of gothic drama.

The swelling crowd began to grow in size as they took the stage, bolstered by a notable number of faces keen to see what all the fuss is about. Brimming with brooding melodies, gothic synths and sky-high ambition, it’s the sound of a band who have certainly found their individuality. ‘Reformation’ embraces an empowering message with a deeply cathartic chorus, brought to life in such thunderous fashion.

Bringing shades of coloured lights, rapid synths glisten and ring around the venue, matched with soaring guitars and intense rhythms, alongside Haydn’s vocals that flow seamlessly. ‘Swallow Me’ sees the lipstick adorned, red gloved frontman shed his guitar and take the spotlight, every inch of him shining showmanship. Oozing confidence and vitality, the collection of songs on display reinforce their ability to lure the listener into their deliriously dark, brooding world, while simultaneously demanding attention.
Naturally, known singles ‘Liars’ and ‘Heartfelt’ provides real highlights, seeing the crowd lose all sense and jump along to its inescapable traits.

That evening confirms all our suspicions about this mysterious band. They truly are bursting with endless ambition and powerful determination to cut their own path. And with the release of newest single ‘New Kind of Ego’, plus a showcase at this years Great Escape already confirmed, the only way is up for this fiercely talented outfit. It surely won’t be long before their appeal spreads far beyond the corners of London.

Words by Lauren McDermott

[LIVE REVIEW] TREETOP FLYERS @ 100 CLUB, LONDON – 04/05/2016

Live Reviews

The setting was just about perfect on the 4th May, the sun had brought out the crowds in London’s infamous Oxford Street, so the refuge of the 350 capacity historic 100 Club came as welcome relief. Pictures of past greats who had graced this stage decorated the jazz club combined with the unchanging décor, created a palpable air of gravitas and expectation. As the club began to fill to capacity, six hipsters shuffled on to stage and grabbed their respective instruments. Rather unassuming, the newcomers to the stage seemed just as likely to be a part of the crowd then performing. Once the opening song began and the members fitted into their roles, it was clear that Treetop Flyers would meet the expectation that the setting had placed upon them.

Supporting the release of there new album, Palomino they blazed through their opening few songs with sufficient skill and charisma. The recent album deals with a lot of turmoil the band have suffered over the past few years, including the death of a friend, broken marriages and the departure of the long-time bassist. Despite the painful and sometimes cathartic record, Treetop Flyers remain in good spirits whilst on stage. Surrounded by warm pallets of colour and sometimes tropical style songs, they complimented the glorious weather that was still fresh in the memory for the crowd.

What really seemed to give the band that extra edge was the inclusion of a percussionist on stage. Whilst on tour, the band met the new member and added her along to the live show. The inclusion of live percussion helped create the warm vibe of the set and added a further layer in an already well layered band. With the inclusion of another member, Treetop Flyers were reminiscent of Arcade Fire in aesthetics, although sonically have a bigger folk influence than Arcade Fire have ever had.

Of course, with such an emotional record there were quieter moments within the set. These moments really allowed the lead singer/guitarist: Reid Morrison to show his skills. As he played the song St Andrews Cross about the death of his father, the sorrow was etched across his face and really drove the song onwards. It did not deter from the upbeat parts of the set, it allowed them to be more impactful to the crowd, who became more responsive as the night carried on.

Having already checked off playing the main stage of Glastonbury in 2011, releasing two albums despite a string of personal issues and now joining the ranks of Rolling Stones and the Sex Pistols who have played the iconic 100 Club, it seems like Treetop Flyers are going to be one of the big rising bands of the next few years.

Words by Jordan Emery

[LIVE REVIEW] LOWER THAN ATLANTIS @ ROUNDHOUSE, CAMDEN, LONDON – 14/12/2015

Live Reviews

The iconic Roundhouse has hosted many gigs noted in musical history (Bowie, Hendrix, Pink Floyd), so playing this venue is a big deal. Despite the excitable teenage girls, it’s refreshing to see a mature audience fill up a large percentage of the room, showing that Lower Than Atlantis have matured along with fans from the beginning.

Opening act Black Foxxes were unknown to most of the audience, so they had their work cut out. Starting out of key and unable to hold any notes, they picked up. Ending with their popular song River, they got a polite reception. With the majority of their guitar heavy music and deep, emotional lyrics, the Exeter band sound like a more accessible version of Brand New.

Heavily enforcing pop punk stereotypes, with jeans so tight that they may as well be painted and fringes more floppy than a disk your parents had in the 90s, As It Is divided opinion. With frontman Patty Walters’ incredible crowd control, their rise in popularity is deserved. Walters focused more on his high jumping than singing and the band looked as if their feet were nailed to the stage.

Being one of the most anticipated bands of the tour, Moose Blood annihilated their slot. Opening with I Hope You’re Miserable, this band are not afraid to change their performance formula. Despite their setlist being the best hits from their debut I’ll Keep You In Mind From Time to Time, they had heavy involvement from the crowd. The perfect warm up for Lower Than Atlantis.

Lower Than Atlantis started their set with a dramatic light show and curtain fall whilst playing their new track Get Over It. With the re-release of their latest self titled album featuring exclusive covers and their most recent Radio 1 Live Lounge, LTA played a variation of both old and new songs. Crowd pleaser Ain’t No Friend opened up the room which resulted in bodies crowd surfing from across the entire floor. Pausing, frontman Mike Duce thanked fans for making this show happen before pointing out his family in the balcony – later that night, fans are treated by seeing Duce’s older brother crowd surf. Moving onto the classics, fans were treated to Beech Like The Tree and a gorgeous acoustic version of Deadliest Catch before moving to anthem Another Sad Song. LTA’s encore made a statement: this band is a force to be reckoned with.

Words by Izzy Minogue-Corps

[LIVE REVIEW] THE STORY SO FAR @ KOKO, LONDON – 04/12/2015

Live Reviews

Kicking off the night were post-hardcore Americans Drug Church. With their last UK tour going down a storm, this band were highly anticipated. Starting off their set with lively track Banco Popular and smoothly transitioning into the loud Aleister, Drug Church flaunted both energy and charisma. Frontman Patrick Kindlon humbly thanked everyone for arriving early to check out their band. Kindlon continued jumping across the stage with hyperactivity and grace during Mohawk and crowd favourite But Does It Work?. Ending their set on a high with Birthday Party, Drug Church left an impression on the UK and have us gasping for more.

The main support acts of the night were New York hardcore band Turnstile. With the band recently annihilating a sold out headline show in Kingston, this band are on a fast track to success. Starting with the vicious Drop, the pit opened up and limbs were flying left, right and center. Guitarist Sean Coo climbed every piece of equipment on the stage, captivating the crowd before doing a backflip off a speaker. Popular songs like Fazed Out and Gravity got everyone sweaty and full of energy, showing that this band have been welcomed into the UK hardcore scene with open arms.

Headliners of the night The Story So Far walked onto the stage without any extravagant music or lighting. They began the set by playing the explosive Empty Space as well as Nerve and Things I Can’t Change. Because this is the main promotional tour for the band’s killer recent self titled album, you’d expect a setlist of mostly new material with a couple of classics. Thankfully, this was not the case. Playing a set with a 50/50 split, the heartbreak of not hearing your favourite song from four years ago was near enough avoided. TSSF treated fans to old songs from albums Under Soil And Dirt and What You Don’t See, providing entertainment for both the old and new fans. Surprising their more die-hard audience, the band played acoustic anthem Clairvoyant – with this song being ignored on their last two tours in the UK, it was a wonderful moment seeing it resurface. Creating what was close to being the perfect setlist, some fans were left disappointed after The Story So Far left out Mt. Diablo, the song that made their success. This was one of the most important pop-punk/hardcore tours of 2015.

Words by Izzy Minogue-Corps

[LIVE REVIEW] RADKEY @ THE BARFLY, CAMDEN, LONDON – 05/11/2015

Live Reviews

The beginning of November brought knee-knocking weather, so there is no other way to warm yourself up by watching the punk band Radkey. On a never-ending tour they’d bought a few support act and first up on the bill was Loom.

Many of the early birds at the gig had no idea who this band were, except for their parents who were beaming with excitement at the end of the bar. Unfortunately, they were the only ones through the whole set who appeared to enjoy it. The music of a punk band who have tried to incorporate The Doors into their sound and failed is one that can forgotten quickly. The only interesting part of the set, using the word “interesting” lightly, was when the lead singer did a front flip into an invisible crowd leaving around five people (including their parents) unaware of what just happened.

The final support act however did not disappoint, the two-piece band God Damn walked on stage and the audience miraculously tripled in the blink of an eye. With songs like When The Wind Blows a hard hitting drum by Ash who looked similar to Side Show Bob from The Simpsons, and a scratching vocals from Thom, the set sparked electricity around the room. What was interesting about this double act was how they could shred drums, vocals and guitars with ease, and able to mix in a groove in between to create a smooth punk vibe especially with tracks like Vultures. This band has supported Foo Fighters before. They know what they’re doing.

Finally, America finest Radkey came on and the crowd exploded. All three members wearing Ray Ban sunglasses. They couldn’t look any cooler. Hitting out songs like Love Spills, which echoed a modern day Ramones, the beat hit you to the bones and the bass shook everyone and everything. Lead singer Dee’s deep vocals set a dark punk vibe, whilst playing guitar with similar ways to Jimi Hendrix. That’s right Hendrix. The band of brothers have such a connection the set was flawless like most of the crowds.

From the beginning to the end, mosh pits circled like an electric whisk. Except for one song that could potentially have been their best track of night. Hunger Pains was a combination of a 60s drum groove and Radkeys’ sharp dark guitar riffs. The crowd didn’t stop moshing because they didn’t enjoy it, they stopped to admire what was being played on the stage. The trio ended with Romance Dawn a tune that kicks off with a military beat which continues and ends in one word. Carnage. As the band end they don’t walk straight off stage, they walk straight through the crowd to shake nearly everybody’s hand. The most humble punks you’ll ever meet. As everyone leaves ears are ringing like fire alarms, but there’s not one person who doesn’t have a smile on their face.

Words by Sam Rees

[LIVE REVIEW] DIY PRESENTS: ‘HELLO 2016’ @ OLD BLUE LAST, LONDON – 12/01/2016

Live Reviews

The bitter January weather is hugely contrasted with overwhelming waves of teenage body warmth as soon as you take your first step into the Old Blue Last. The bar is almost non–existent upstairs due to the tightly-crammed turn out and although a free gig, I suppose this is the price you pay. I swiftly order two Spiced Rum and Cokes for myself to avoid the treacherous journey across to the bar again and famous faces make up the crowd: The Big Moon, Theo Ellis of Wolf Alice and Kristian Bell of The Wytches.

People are literally standing on each others toes by the time the first band are ready to play as numerous drunken barges are immediately met with apologies. Four-piece Trudy have the most difficult set of the night, kicking off the event but to an uncomfortable and straight-faced East London crowd. They look good and have all the aesthetics a mid-nineties Blur would, but the sound is different. Although there are undeniable ‘borrows’ from the likes of Albarn and Co. they present the crowd with a happy go lucky, 50’s throwback melodies that are intoxicating and cause the straight faces to bop. Frontman Oliver Taylor finger-picks his red Danelectro Guitar he wears tightly round his chest like a weapon, and his distinctive vocals offer numerous personalities throughout the set. If you were just to listen to the music you wouldn’t be sure whether they all had a quiffs or were all wearing Fila Jackets. It is different, but it really works and it appears DIY saved the best until first.

Equally entertaining is 20 year old singer songwriter Willie J Healey. His attempt to humour the audience is met with the sound of a cricket and lost tumbleweed but thankfully his set fully reinforced that he is on stage for all the right reasons. Dreamy surfer riffs are at the forefront of the perfomance as Willie’s barrotone but youthful vocals tell teenage tales of ‘Sneaking out of bedroom windows’ and ‘Beauty Queens’. Undeniably inspired by more recent singer-songwriters like Mac Demarco, his band are a pleasure to listen too as it almost sounds like they’re playing underwater. The backing vocalists repeat the line ‘When I was young and I had fun’ providing Willie with the freedom to below his deepest bedroom thoughts to the now fixated audience, rounding off his set with perfection.

The 1990’s appears to be a mutual interest amongst the four bands playing tonight, and it doesn’t get more 90’s than Bruising. They jump straight into their first number Can’t You Feel with conviction and their energy is undeniable. The frontwoman has a ‘fuck you’ haircut and flutters her eyes in a way reminiscent to Justin Frischmann. The guitar stings the ears of the audience like an early Elastica performance, but only watered down: much like the Ice in my second Rum and Coke by this point. Despite the appealing look of the band the melodies are often repeated far too often and are commonly drowned out by a heavy Pixies-esque bassline or guitar screeches.

New York band Diet Cig do not provide the normal sound expected from a two-piece as they round off the night with some cheesy American Indie-pop. The lyrics are very substandard compared to the bands we heard before and the cringy ‘it’s cool because it’s not cool’ attitude of frontwoman Alex Luciano is unbearable. Despite the unimpressed sour faces of the London crowd, she continue to sarcastically prance of stage and stick her tongue out to no amusement whatsoever. It is made easy to get distracted during one of their songs and each one ends with the odd sporadic clap from the now tiring audience.

It was a successful and entertaining night at the Old Blue Last but could have been made much better with opposite set times.

Words by Dan Judd

[LIVE REVIEW] CARLY RAE JEPSEN @ ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL, LONDON – 07/12/2015

Live Reviews

Carly Rae Jepsen has had one hell of a year. The album E MO TION remains one of 2015’s most interesting success stories, purely because of how unsuccessful it was, yet how amazing it really is as a body of work. No one bought this album, yet this album has made nearly every end “Best of….” from the likes of Rolling Stone to TIME magazine. If one things for definite, this cult following that Jepsen has gathered in this past year are loyal and she knows that, so she brought this album to the UK for her first ever headlinE UK show.

Before Jepsen took to the stage, the fans were treated to a quick opening set from rising musician HUNTAR, who delivered a production heavy performance that left the crowd cheering and pumped for what was about to happen. After a quick 30 minute wait and stage setup, it was time for Jepsen to hit the stage. Who knew that one saxophone could cause such loud screams from an excited audience.

Run Away With Me – the smash that never was – was the song to open this 80’s pop evening and what a choice to open a show. This collection of dedicated fans were left spinning and dancing with each other chanting away to the infectious chorus and it really set the tone for the rest of the night, it was going to be a fun evening. She then burned through a few more tracks – both new and old – from the likes of the title track to the Owl City collaboration and summer classic from years ago, Good Times.

Boy Problems was a stand out of the night, with Jepsen sounding on point, having fun with her also on point backing vocalists. The crowd yelling “I think I broke up with my boyfriend today, but I don’t really care” at each other was such a euphoric moment and ironically you could feel the love in the room. This was also the case for new single Your Type, the energy in the room from not just Jepsen, but from the love the crowd was giving off – it was such a surreal moment.

Towards the end of the set she toned it down with songs like Favourite Colour and a stripped down version of a track from her previous album Kiss, Curiosity, which saw Jepsen seek audience participation leaving a nice forwards and back action with both Jepsen and the crowd.

Closing the show however was back to back pop classics, starting with the forever infamous and most digitally downloaded song of all time, Call Me Maybe. This song live is the definition of fun, with on point vocals and an energy as powerful as the crowd and band combined – and the glitter ball hanging high in the air – it’s just a high energy ball of fun.

When you think it’s over, she closes the show out with I Really Like You and what a way it was the close the show. A fan also threw a Christmas hat on stage, which I guess makes up for the lack of her newly released Christmas cover on the stage.

Needless to say though Carly knows how to put on a show and hopefully it wont be too long until Jepsen is gracing English soil yet again.

Words and photo by Connor Spilsbury-Brown

[LIVE REVIEW] THE VACCINES @ BRIXTON ACADEMY, LONDON – 26/11/2015

Live Reviews

The Vaccines are the juggernauts of the British indie rock genre. They released their first album, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? back in 2011 and, after gaining overwhelming success at a rapid rate, second record Come Of Age followed shortly after in 2012. A brief EP appeared in 2013, but since then the quartet have been mainly under the radar, taking a break before recording new material in New York.

The band are three albums deep now and this is their third appearance at Brixton this week on a nationwide UK tour in support of their latest LP English Graffiti. Tonight is in fact their tenth appearance at the South London venue in their career as lead singer Justin Hayward-Young informs the crowd during his first interaction, and it’s an evident sentiment as the band take to the stage like they own it.

Opening with English Graffiti’s lead single Handsome, the band storm the venue with the vibrant energy that has been there since day one, with Hayward-Young reciting the ballsy lyrics: “Lonely, bored and bad thank God I’m handsome.”

Continuing straight into Teenage Icon the London band showcase the electrifying and infectious guitar riffs which have propelled them all along.

There is a healthy amount of tracks from the four-piece’s first two records in tonight’s set, with album tracks like Wetsuit, Wolf Pack and Bad Mood proving to be immediate hits with the Brixton crowd. While third album tracks like Dream Lover and 20/20 get just as much of an enthusiastic reaction as original singles Post Break-Up Sex and If You Wanna.

As the band depart from the stage, their frontman returns shortly with just a bright, white acoustic guitar for a slower, solo rendition of No Hope.

After a frenzied and faultless performance of We’re Happening, the four-piece charge into their final track, Norgaard. The audience erupts with flailing limbs everywhere as confetti streams out from either side of the stage. It’s the perfect end to the show and a perfect end to three nights at one of London’s most prestigious venues.

Words and photo by Shannon Cotton