Down in the gritty and authentically retro venue that is The Macbeth down in Shoreditch, last night saw This Feeling’s best showcase in a long time, as Sophie & The Giants, BlackWaters and Yonaka took to the stage, the cramped intimacy of the venue combined with the eclectic genre of live music creating a very special atmosphere. There’s a dominant confidence that resonates live in each artist, who all have a indie base to their music, Sophie & The Giants infusing this with a cocktail of swirly pop synthetics, with BlackWaters and Yonaka leaning towards a vivacious punk eccentricity
Sophie & The Giants opened up the night, their enigmatic energy flitting between dreamy indie pop and synthetic choruses, screaming of low-fi ambience. Whilst not as jagged or avant-garde as a lot of new bands stealthily circling the music scene at the moment are, Sophie & The Giants have maintained a consistency in their sound and image, their pop haziness eluding a very interesting on stage aura. Intriguingly catchy and with an instant melodic appeal, Sophie & The Giants are perfect for pop fans who are craving something a bit more edgy and vibrant, an elegant aesthetic warmly intertwined in this band’s entire aura
BlackWaters were next, scarring the audience with their scatty chaos. They have always embodied a raucous, messy passion when playing, and manage to create an old school punk vivacity almost effortlessly. This uncaring, abrasive sharpness is paramount to the evocative nature of punk music, and BlackWaters have a sleasy brawling riotous edge which amplifies their disorderly, jarring grit. Given their rowdy punk flare, it would be intriguing to see the band explore something slightly more avant-garde, as their sound has matured into something a lot more eclectic since the last time I saw them – it would be interesting to see this grow into something more innovative
Brimming with an eccentric wildness, fuelled by dazzling grungy furore, Yonaka’s headline set was savage. This band are one of the most special live bands that I know, their live sets feeling almost biblical in that they are a pure experience. Ear splitting, broody riffs are used to evoke a burst of gritty post punk, Theresa’s sharp vocal overwhelmingly matching the deafening riffs and shock-wave drumming perfectly. The band played a variety of tracks, old tracks like Drongo and Ignorance making their way into the setlist, as well as Fired Up, Waves, Creature, and brand new track Rock Star. Genuinely one of those bands I could never tire from seeing live, the power of Theresa’s voice, accompanied by the confidence and sultriness of her on-stage presence evokes a raw, formidable presence, inspired by the lightning bolt of fiery energy that comes from the grungy riffs and bass lines, aggressive and rich in essence. From seeing them at The Horn two years ago to selling out The Electric Ballroom at the end of last year, the growth of this band has been incredibly inspiring to watch, and they have gone from supporting Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Bring Me The Horizon, to being sell out headline material in their own right. Seeing them in such an intimate setting once more was oddly nostalgic, as I know it is rarely going to happen again – a huge thank you to This Feeling for curating such a special night.
Gig rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Photos: no photographer source (please message if they are yours!)
The number one party #ZoneIsland of last summer is returning next week, thanks to This Feeling once again taking over a stage at the iconic Isle Of Wight festival. One of the biggest champions and supporters of new music, This Feeling are teaming up with Pirate Studios and Pretty Green, with over thirty bands gracing the stage; no doubt it will be biblical. If you’re looking for the freshest, most raw and enticingly hedonistic live music, paired with the indisputable fact that future headliners will be playing the stage, then This Feeling’s tent will be the place to be. Here’s our top five unmissable bands to catch live at the festival
Last summer This Feeling hosted a stage at Reading Festival, and Avalanche Party were undeniably the standout highlight act from the entire weekend. There’s a manic visceral energy which infuses their live sets with a deranged,almost feral nature. Tracks like Porcelain and 2021 are a solid testament to what gritty garage punk music is, and the intense brutality the band create with ease is enthralling and mosh worthy on stage
A few months ago, Calva Louise were creating sugar coated punk music; blaring riffs and scarring vocals layered over delicate whispers from vocalist Jess, and carefully created pop riffs blended in with their DIY grit. Yet latest single Outrageous takes you back to the old school DIY punk sound of the band, which is one of messy, filthy grunge. Authentic and stunning in their unique brand of punk, Calva Louise are one of the tightest and most polished live bands on the scene at the moment, whilst still able to inject a scatty excitement and vitality into their live sets
Having seen Cavalcade support The Wholls back in March, I have been desperate to see them again ever since. The four piece have a wild sound; it’s got a post-Britpop/ rock’n’roll bite to it, but it’s not as commercial sounding as many other bands who fall into this genre. Perhaps it’s their jaw dropping riffs that give them the edge, or it may be the energy and vigorous no-shit attitude they have on stage. Either way, this band are fast becoming one of the most interesting and fun live bands emerging onto the scene
Sophie And The Giants
Completely bad-ass and intense both on stage and on record, Sophie And The Giants are a vivacious new band, whose enigmatic sound blurs the fine line between pop and indie perfectly. Sophie’s vocal belongs to a class of head banging pop rippled with savage heaviness, similar to the likes of Yonaka’s lead vocalist Theresa. They use synths perfectly too, using them to enhance their thudding music rather than distract from the refreshing indie rock they are so perfectly creating
The Surrenders time and time again have proven themselves as one of the most intense, hedonistically wonderful live bands on the scene right now. Their live sets are rippled with a bluesy nostalgia, the immensity of their groovy raw riffs akin to the talent of Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix. Connor’s vocal is scarring and raw, a gritty dirty bite embedded in his soothing voice, amped up by the vibrancy of Rich and James on guitar. Scott is a wonderful drummer, particularly with his rowdy backing vocal on Pursuit Of Love. Riff wise, lead guitarist Rich is genius in that he plays with an immaculate sense of natural ease, and this effortlessness builds up the flawless brilliance The Surrenders have on stage.
Other bands to catch: The Scruff, The Velvet Hands, SONS, The Black Roses, Himalayas, & The Cosmics
This Feeling will also be hosting stages this summer at Y Not? Festival (26th-29th July) and Truck Festival (19th-22nd July)…they have smashed it this year lineup wise, and if last summer was anything to go by then time is running out to see these bands in small venues playing for DIY promoters, so act fast
A masterclass in how live music should be done, This Feeling hosted an iconic gig last night which can only go down as an ‘I was there night.’ Blistering, sweaty, hypnotic rock’n’roll dazzled the crowd from the very first band, this aura transcending the entire night. The lineup was immense to say the least, with some of the best bands in the underground circuit all billed on the same lineup, with sets from Lucie Barât, The Surrenders, Calva Louise, Hey Charlie, Avalanche Party, Anteros, Himalayas, SHEAFS, and Judas. Tipped as ‘bands to watch’ by a variety of bloggers and promoters spanning the country, Mikey Johns outdid himself with last night. The gig took place in the heart of London’s music scene, in the much-loved Nambucca, and by the first act the venue was crammed with bands, fans, writers, photographers, and industry lovers alike. The gig was a magnificently starry night, full of the infectious warmth and love which keeps underground rock’n’roll so viable.
Here are Indie Underground‘s top three picks from last night
Snarling explosive riffs oozing with melodic pop filled the venue last night when three piece Calva Louise took to the stage. Jess has a violently stunning aura on stage, her voice and riffs dangerously gripping and meticulously enticing, the bass from Alizon and drumming from Ben a sharp razor blade slicing through this gritty cloud of sound. Their set last night was riotous and enthralling, compelling and enticing every single audience member. Performing a stellar set of tracks including Outrageous and Getting Closer, the heaviness and raw pop balladry embedded in their dirty DIY edge made Calva Louise a tremendous stand out act.
Groovy Zeppelin-esque psychedelia made for a trippy and bouncy carnival of raucous rock’n’roll when The Surrenders played. Connor’s voice has a sublime quality, with a harsh raw ripping edge to it; this gritty cutting roughness to his voice is gripping and possesses a very strong 70s bite, which made their sound a rather retro one. Yet despite this, the blues-packed anthemic guitar riffs elevated their hooks and lyrics into a boldly youthful, fresh sound, which translated brilliantly on stage. Accompanied by a lot of dancing from the crowd, their set went down an absolute belter.
Avalanche Party were one hundred percent last night’s stand out band, tearing the venue to infinite pieces with their intensely visceral sense of hectic menace and theatrical immensity. Jordan’s manically possessed edge was entrancing, the band fully losing themselves in the deafening magnitude of their riffs. With tracks like Solid Gold and I’m So Wet embedded in their set, Jordan may have spent more time in the crowd and lying on the floor in a demonically possessed manner rather than actually being up on stage. But this is what makes their live shows so special. The vibrant demeanour of the band was one of thudding brutality, this gripping power hypnotising the audience.
This Feeling’s Big In 2018 extravaganza continues over the course of the month, and will be taking to Camden’s Monarch on the 25th of this month. Purchase tickets here, and do yourself a favour and buy a ticket for every This Feeling gig taking part in your local venue
Dictating the course of rock’n’roll, This Feeling have been unearthing underground new talent for over a decade now, and Mikey Johns always sets the new year off with a bang, with his ‘Big In …’ parties. This year, London is being graced with two gigs, the first of which takes place next Saturday (January 13th) at Nambucca. A fresh lineup with post punk grunge music and raw indie pop bands, nine incredible musicians will be taking to the stage to showcase the immense amount of vibrant, vivacious under the radar talent right now.
Have a look at the bands gracing the lineup below
Beautifully melodic, stylish in essence and grating in sound, Anteros are a magnificent force on stage. Laura Hayden is a dreamy front woman, her whole aura being captivating. The confidence and power of the band is unapproachable, their rock riffs doused in a slick pop burst, their clever hooks and lyrics blurring rock’n’roll with a more mainstream pop feel. The aesthetic Anteros possess is stunning, with a vivid elegance projected on stage, captivating every single member of the audience and inducing an infectious energy. The artistic element to the band and creative exploration they have gives Anteros an intriguing and unique feel, presented stunningly both on and off stage.
A vibrant and impassioned storm, Himalayas are a zealously fiery burst of power and energy. On stage, they have this careless arrogance and approach which draws the audience in like magnets; this may be a result of their hefty riffs and boldly punchy guitar loops, or perhaps it’s a result of the energy and passion channelled within minutes of them stepping on stage. Riff wise, the band have a quirky Husky Loops edge to them, Joe’s nasty dirty vocal giving their music a snarly grit. He has a cocky abrasive approach, the nasty heaviness ingrained in their music justifying this arrogance and confidence flowing on their stages.
An exciting phenomenon which has been gradually building in the UK is snarly indie pop merged with grunge music, taking direct inspiration from Seattle 90s rock. Hey Charlie interlock riffs and bass lines clearly inspired by bands like Nirvana (especially in Hey, the chorus an ode to Heart Shaped Box) with soft soothing vocals, delicately lined with a whispery elegance. Harmonising softly works well, as the band layer this over dark heavy guitar lines, which creates an almost trippy contrast. Sharp shouts and rolling drum loops help build up an air of intensity, the band’s music packing an atmospheric bite.
For twisted theatrical drama on stage, paired with biting vocals and snarly licks of heavy guitar rock’n’roll, Avalanche Party are the go to band. A hefty riot of distorted rock, Avalanche Party are a dark force of grit and thrashing intensity. On stage, they have a deranged feel to them, an element of post grunge nastiness entwined in their music, which has a tough grit embedded in the lyricism. They’re abrasive and uncaring and unorthodox, which makes for a daring and thrilling feel. Blindingly powerful in sound and arrogant in attitude, there’s a nasty sleaze and rich rock’n’roll vibrancy to Avalanche Party which is hectic and immense to see on stage.
With a boldly energetic neo-indie shoegaze rock sound, The Surrenders are an atmospheric and exciting band, fusing funky bluesy rock’n’roll with a rhythmic soul edge. The genres are fused together exceptionally well, with a Hendrix-esque lick of guitar running through each track. Connor’s voice is snarly and gritty and raw, tearing through the blues riffs perfectly, each element of the band’s sound interlocking in perfect sync. There’s a heavy aura of nostalgia to The Surrenders (yet still retaining a spirited vitality), inducing a deep similarity to classic 60s & 70s bands like Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones (think early Stones, when they were taking inspiration from American soul and blues like Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters).
A punk poet at heart, Lucie Barât has skill, finesse and passion embedded in her music. Musically speaking, she uses poetic lyricism and a sharp cheeky wit to build up a more unexplored sound in modern day rock music. Lucie has a synth rock undercurrent to her music, layering her sharply pronounced lyrics over a blurry raw rock band set up; the spoken word entwined in her music is slick and punchy, delivering a fresh and honest feel. Through the openness of her lyrics (which are the core foundations of her music), Lucie reminds me a lot of musicians like Kate Nash, Kate Tempest or Patti Smith, given the witty grace and almost humorous nature of her writing.
Divulge in punk music with a snazzy lick of carefully curated pop, in other words give
Calva Louise a listen, a band who epitomise DIY punk with a sugarcoated pop bite. Lead vocalist Jess is ferocious, her gravely grating voice challenging the sharpness and cutting harshness of her guitar riffs. The band are heavy and intimidating in presence, their light handed pop aura mixing in with their rock bite perfectly. The underground rock scene has been crying out for too long for a band who can fuse punk and pop without sounding boring or mainstream, and Calva Louise fit this desire all too well. It’s fuzzy messy punky grungy pop, each genre delicately balanced out to perplex and entice their audiences all at once.
Nodding a head to retro Britrock, entwining indie rock with an air of astute rock’n’roll elegance, SHEAFS are a riotous force of nature on stage, always going down impeccably well with their audiences. Their anthemic bold rock tracks have slices of post punk and indie licks of guitar darting throughout, clouding their sound into a wholesome, punchy riot. Sparkling with a graced demeanour of confidence and lyrical finesse, the band have a raw feel good sound, edged with musical brilliance and power.
A thrilling concoction of dark indie rock with a hot rock’n’roll beat snarling its way through the music, JUDAS are powerful in sound and essence, creating an unflinching, unapproaching rock sound. Their riffs are intriguingly composed, constructed in a very clever and intricate way, which is endearing and captivating to their audiences. There’s a raunchy feel good beat to the music, amplifying a bold, in your face dance aura. Sound wise, the band aren’t new or unique in the sense Calva Louise or Avalanche Party are, yet by picking out certain elements of rock’n’roll which work nail bitingly well together, JUDAS are able to build up a sharp, meticulously refined sound which is electric.
A stunning showcase of the immense underground rock scene in London which is just brimming with raw talent, This Feeling took to The Monarch in Camden on Thursday evening, bringing together three of the most talked about bands on the DIY post punk circuit. Calva Louise and The Velvet Hands both performed riotous sets, followed by
headliners Paves, playing the gig as a launch party for stunning new single Baby. This Feeling always deliver an insanely good lineup, but this time really outdid themselves, the gig even selling out beforehand. The Velvet Hands brought a feel of authenticity and nostalgia to the gig, intertwining classic 60s sounds into their set. A bold Stones-esque edge ripples through their tight licks and riffs, and the nostalgia of their sound was kept just fresh enough by the confidence and abrasive youthfulness present. Bringing a more gritty punk bite to the gig, Calva Louise put on a hectic set as usual; Jess’s sharp riffs and grating vocals fit together perfectly, and the raw DIY edge to the band always makes them a delight to see live. I could go on about the three piece for hours, purely because of the unbelievable talent they have; they possess the skill and talent to write punk tracks with indie and pop undertones to them, whilst maintaining that raw dirty punk grit which is so integral to their sound. Headline band Paves were on top form too; in all honesty it didn’t grip me properly until about halfway through their set, but what was clear nearer the end was how tight and polished they are. Their sound is packed with this rich romanticism, full of riffs which focus more on meticulous delicacy and intricacy than heaviness which I think works really well with the sound the band are going for, which is stunning classic guitar rock. What This Feeling did on Thursday night was mega; a showcase of some of the freshest, most exciting talent in London right now.
What I liked about the gig was the versatility of the evening; each band was so unique in their own way, bringing 60s/70s mod rocker vibes, DIY punk grit, and anthemic guitar rock’n’roll together on one stage. For Paves, the gig was a single release party for Baby which has been released
via This Feeling records, the track being a standout summer tune (as Paves played a host of festivals over the summer for This Feeling). Baby is a brilliant piece of music too, and the reaction from the crowd and packed out buzz inside the venue during their set confirms Mikey Johns’ description of them as ‘the heart and soul of London’s and the UK’s new music scene.’ Paves are very well established in the London scene; they gig constantly and themselves attend most gigs around the city too, building up a reputation and certain popularity for themselves in the process. Live, they have an incredible sound. Luke’s voice is stunning; it’s rich and soothing, at the same time possessing a really tough gritty quality. He pushes it quite a lot in tracks like Baby and Woman, and I love the gravely undertone it has when he applies that extra power to it. The guitar he plays is stunning too, backed up perfectly by Mike who could play riffs for days, a stunning compliment to Tom on drums and bassist Perry. Calva Louise too were a band I already knew of really well, having seen them play live four times now. Jess is a mindblowing front woman, and probably one of the nicest people in the music industry. Her sharp screeches and gritty DIY punk screams ease into soothing pop melodies in an instance, and this glides over her insane riffs perfectly. Alizon on bass (especially in Getting Closer) and Ben on drums fits in with her aura perfectly too, the fact that they rehearse every single day being no surprise when you witness the perfection of their sets. For me though, The Velvet Hands were my favourite set of the night, simply as it’s always a pure
delight to be that impressed and excited by a band you’ve not yet seen live before. Their sound was rich and authentically rock’n’roll, drawing comparisons to The Rolling Stones, or possibly bands such as Squeeze and The Vaccines. 60s and 70s subculture was clearly an inspiration behind the band, reflected both by their old school sound and image; they could have easily jumped out of the Cavern Club, or some quirky underground London bar in the mid 70s. It can be difficult for a band to sound as if they’ve stepped out of another decade without sounding copycat-ish or cliché, but the confidence of the lads transcended regardless and they pulled their set off with ease.