If this was nine, ten’s going to be mental.
MVRKS pack a lot in to an opening set – jazz, british blues, reggae, smooth keys, hints of the bloody Libertines of all things, and some drenching psyche. Just the right way to kick off a party, then.
Well, NYCK are a bloody lovely piece of work. When says electropop it’s usually a surefire way of making me doze off. This, I couldn’t take my eyes off. Electronic only in the sense that all the instruments have circuits, the heroes are the two voices, harmonies and heartbreak, a very human use of technology. It’s not until they drop a cover of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” – a bold move – that I realise that yeah, they totally remind me of bloody Massive Attack. It’s no mean thing to make your audience completely forget you’re an electronic band. This is a very beautiful example of the form. Swoon.
I don’t know what Twelve Point Buck have been drinking but I want some. Not seen them in a while, but their literate grunge has morphed into something with real teeth. While the Pumpkins guitar lines are still there, we now also get a handful of absolute smashers, full of mad energy and fizz, and it’s an instant pleasure. Impressed.
Jody – whose singer used to work here – are a reliable bunch. The singer will flail around like his kinetic movement is keeping the power on, there will be moments of soaring buzzsaw guitar, some great tunes, and some weird moments that veer off wildly into space. This is precisely what happens. No-one with any sense is sad about this.
While the crowd gets increasingly more bezerk, Sparrows shows up to provide a little bit of contrast. This is soothing balm, smooth and creamy electropop with a delight of a voice over the top. Even the savage beast of a crowd is soothed. Nearly.
By this point in the night, the wheels are in serious danger of falling off for the crowd, so Good Boy’s rickety, serrated guitar pop is just what most of us need. Brimful of energy, happy as a bag of clams and a roaring trainload of good times.
There aren’t enough bands who can pull off ABC, Scritti Polliti and Prefab Sprout, but High-Tails are clearly one of them. Literate, danceable pop, this is smart songwriting delivered with a massive side order of party. Which is both dificult, and never a bad thing.
The crowd is now completely mashed up sideways. Wishing the OAF a Happy Birthday gets you a cheer like you’ve just offered to buy the place a round. Being fair to Dorsal Fins though, they’d have likely got a cheer anyway. If nothing else, their sheer commitment to making every bugger in the place dance is laudable – if you’re a fan of soulful voices, spat bars, guitar riffery, keyboard blooping, gut-churning bass, big pop tunes, or trumpets, there’s something here for you. I’m old and from London, so can’t help but repeat the word “Senser” to myself over and over, but everyone else is just messily losing their brain. That, my friends, is a party band.
By this point in the night though, I’ve been shooting for four straight hours, and am as sober as a judge. Let’s not dwell on the fact that I literally could no longer walk straight and bailed after Dorsal Fins. Instead, let’s assume that ADKOB and Skeggs were brilliant (it’s not like anyone still there was likely to remember it anyway), and wish the Oxford Art Factory a Happy Birthday. If this was nine, ten’s going to be mental.