Wednesday evening at The Horn marked my first gig of the year, with the venue hosting an unreal lineup of Boothroyd, MONO 01, 485C and Atlas. The first band to play were Boothroyd, a two piece made up of Tom Bamber and Echo Infirmary’s Jamie Richards, and they were very intense, with a deep almost melancholy atmospheric edge to their set. Jamie was on lead vocals, and his voice is really interesting, very deep and dark, similar to vocalists like Ian Curtis and Nick Cave. It was quite a dark, romantically soft sound the band had, with no drumming or amped up blaring sounds; simply Jamie and Tom on guitar. The simplicity of this set up is actually what made their sound so enthralling. It was such a deeply captivating aura the two piece had on stage, which really captivated the audience. Influenced by artists such as Racing Glaciers, Lucy Rose and Hudson Taylor, Boothroyd provided the most beautifully nostalgic raw sound. Jamie, who also plays bass in Echo Infirmary, takes up lead vocals and played the bulk of the guitar, with Tom beautifully harmonising with him and adding in his own delicately intricate guitar riffs and loops. The acoustic stripped back sound their set had to me was very reminiscent of folk or old indie music, tying in Jamie’s rich vocals with the softness of Tom’s guitar beautifully. They performed a couple of covers too, with a dark, almost emotional, version of In The Bleak Midwinter and a version of Echo Infirmary’s Bust Your Windows. With the band’s Echo Infirmary cover, the stripped back soft nature of the track gave a whole new meaning to the song, especially on the line ‘I don’t wanna bust your windows, I just wanna break your fall.’ The melancholic ambience of their performance drew similarities to artists like Bob Dylan and Lou Reed, giving their set a beautiful, hauntingly mysterious sound.
Next to play were MONO 01, a Bedford based four piece I’ve wanted to see live for months now. Their self-titled debut album was released last year, and although it has a beautifully raw indie sound, live the band have a much heavier rock presence. I was impressed by the sheer talent the band have, and the immensity of the rock’n’roll blaring sound they were able to create. The band formed during their A levels, made up of Will, Tyler, Nathan, and Sam. There was a very alternative garage rock feel to their set, with heaps of energy from the four piece. They remind me a lot of bands like Arctic Monkeys, Queens of The Stone Age and The Clash, with a raucous rock edge on stage. Nathan as a vocalist is brilliant, with clear inspiration from Arctic Monkeys front-man Alex Turner. The heaviness of the guitar was especially good in the drop in Girls On The Other Side Of Town which is one of my favourite tracks by the band. Tyler’s riffs were outstanding too, with a really meticulous well-rehearsed sound to their music. Their set was really well put together, made up of tracks like Lost Dreams, Scaled Hands, Summer Heat, and personal favourites The Narcissist and Memory. Their set also included a tribute to the late George Michael, with a wonderful catchy feel-good cover of Faith.
Next up to play were 485C, who released new single Strange Medicine yesterday (6/01). The five piece are probably one of the most captivating, interesting bands I’ve seen live, with a deep intense atmosphere you can only really get live with some bands. The band are fronted by vocalist Adam Hume, who stood still for most of the performance, giving the band a very dark brooding edge. He reminded me a lot of Ian Curtis or Morrissey in terms of his stage presence, or Bowie in terms of vocals which were blared with a raspy, gritty force. Adam takes up lead vocals, with Dom (guitar), Rory (guitar) and Sam (bass) taking up backing vocals, all backed up by Lucas on drums. American Walls was a favourite track of mine, showcasing Adam’s unreal vocals astonishingly; he uses these long dark wails which cut through the guitar, adding to the uncompromising raw intensity 485C have. The band came across as really unique and out there, something different and edgy to shake up the rock scene. It was a pretty dark set, very mysterious and mesmerising to watch, despite the feel good raucous guitar sound the five piece showcased. Adam’s little hip rolls and dancing on stage, with him swigging beer from his tulip glass all added to the band’s overwhelmingly atmospheric stage presence. As mentioned before, the group reminded me a bit of bands like The Smiths, Joy Division, and The Cure. The band have a few released tracks online (you can listen to them via Spotify), but it’s live where they are at their best, with an unbelievable stage presence. To keep up to date with the band, you can follow them on Facebook.
Atlas were the final band to perform, an exciting indie rock five piece made up of Arthur, Ben, Alex, Harry and Brady. I’ve never listened to the band before but know the name well as they’ve been cementing a reputation for themselves as a lively, exciting, fun band in the local area. What I enjoyed about their set was how different it was; rather than being a guitar band, they also incorporated keyboard and the saxophone into their set, which gave their music a more exciting fun sound. It was simply feel-good indie rock, comparable to bands like Two Door Cinema Club (who they covered), The Wombats, and Foals with a quirky pop sound to them too. Ben played the saxophone brilliantly too, which accompanied the blurred guitar and raucous drumming really well. The crowd seemed to be mostly made up of friends of the band, which gave their set a really fun party-style atmosphere, with dancing and singing along throughout their performance. The saxophone sound also gave their music a jazz/ blues feel which complemented the indie rock sound they had perfectly, a brilliant way to round off the gig.
Gig rating: ★★★★☆
©All photos to Sahera Walker