LIVE REVIEW. Otherkin at The Boileroom

Date: 23 May 2017
Venue: 
The Boileroom, Guildford
Genre: Grunge pop
Words: Steph Baker
Photography: Aaron Crawford

 

Tonight’s gig reminded me of why independent venues such as The Boileroom are so important to local communities and the music industry. Seeing live music, and having unique, memorable experiences at places like these, filled with welcoming and creative people is what it’s all about, right?

Bad Nerves

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The main support for Otherkin came on stage to a warm and building crowd. The first thing that made this East-London four-piece currently touring with Otherkin was the front-man’s pounding vocals. His voice travels up, down and all around, diversifying the band’s indie-rock tunes and bringing each one to life.

The crowd were engaged, and our night was kicked off with a frenzy of heavy riffs and catchy hooks, especially within the most recent single ‘Dreaming‘. This was one of the band’s final gigs with Otherkin, an yet you would never have known it with the amount of manic energy the guys brought to the room, the set was actually exhausting to keep up with, and that’s exactly how music like this is meant to be.

 

 

 

Otherkin

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Otherkin are a grunge-pop frenzy from Dublin who are… quite the experience. The four-man group came onstage looking rather un-disruptive but managed to turn a politely-bobbing-your-head-along kinda Tuesday night into a sweaty, bloody mess within their first track, ‘It’s Alright‘. The crowd were pulled to the front and brought up to the same level as the band while thrashing around to the infectious ‘Why Did You Treat Me So Bad‘. In today’s music scene, over-saturated with Libertines-wannabes and inauthentic boy bands, Otherkin proudly stand out by managing to genuinely connect with the audience and bring about an uproar with their ferocious hooks, passionate lyrics and attitude filled grunge riffs.

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As the country tries to digest and contemplate the truly horrific attack on a gig in Manchester, tonight’s gig is a bittersweet event. Otherkin stopped their set to express their thoughts and pay their respects, saying “Music should be a safe space for everyone” before everyone in the room took part in a minute of silence. After this emotional moment came to an end, the group summoned up all the energy they had in them with the next tune of the night, ‘Come On Hello’, something fun and positive to get everyone dancing again. Further along the night, the London boys invited everyone onto the stage, this was a moment of pure joy and madness for everyone at the Boileroom tonight, exactly what we needed. Hook-filled, manic pop tunes full of attitude and truthful tales. Otherkin are a truly class act, and a band that will inevitably continue to shake up venues across Europe this summer.

 


Listen to Otherkin’s latest Single ‘Bad Advicehere

The East-London boys are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

Baker Out

SINGLE REVIEW. AFFAIRS – ‘Runaway’

Label: Yellow Brick Music

Genre: 80s electro-pop

Rating:★★★1/2

Lads from Hull have been anything but complacent in their efforts to bring back the 80s and take over with their authentic electo-pop. Since meeting at university and moving their base to Manchester, they have shared the stage with the likes of Alt-J and Circa Waves in support, and produced a debut EP oozing with charm and self-assurance in their niche sound.

Runaway‘ is the lead single from AFFAIRS’ debut EP, ‘Stained Gold‘ (Out now, link below), this is a risky debut to release due to the seemingly uncompromising 80s-esk style and obscure synth-heavy foundations. However, it seems as though it might just pay off, especially when looking to this track. It’s no wonder AFFAIRS are gaining a respectable reputation for delivering considered lyrics and theatrical live performances harrowing the kind of fringe/indie-pop curated by The Smiths. The dreamy guitar melodies, and obscure use of synths demonstrated in ‘Runaway‘ creates an ageless 80s-esk vibes with an authenticity that is rare to find as they tell melancholy tales of the rises and falls experienced within youthful nightlife. This is then brought not to the present but to the future with electro-pop type drums and the harrowing, intriguing vocals. Although the vocal range sounds at times slightly strained, it is balanced out by the intrusive, pounding chorus vocals that would probably do very well live.

This band could be summed up as the love-child of Depeche Mode and Morrissey, born today. Is the world ready for that child to develop and grow adventurous in its endevours? Only time will tell, but AFFAIRS will likely be doing their thing either way.


Check out ‘Runaway‘ here:

 

Listen to the full ‘Stained Gold‘ EP here:

AFFAIRS are also on facebook and twitter

 

 

(Image: Clash Magazine)

Baker out.

 

ALBUM REVIEW. Spring King – ‘Tell Me If You Like To’

Release Date: 10th June 2016 (Island Records)

Genre: Indie/garage-punk

Rating:★★★★

 

We were very excited for the debut release from the new boys on the block, Spring King after seeing them headline the Boileroom last month (Check it out here) and seeing the success and hype generated from hit singles such as ‘City‘ and ‘Rectifier‘. And it is safe to say that we were not disappointed.

The debut kicks off with the signature pounding drums that Tarek Musa masters so well accompanied by a fitting heavy bass line for the opening track ‘City‘. This is a care-free danceable track with the freeing lyrical hook ‘Who am I what does it matter?’ – Perhaps these boys foolishly believe they’re still in the small leagues, or maybe they are embracing their shooting success with an uncomprimising attitude.

We are then graced with the irresistibly catchy hits such as ‘Detroit‘. This pre-released hit along with the fan-favourite ‘Summer‘ pain a fuzzy picture of the romanticized, chaotic, British summer experiences of one’s youth that we just love to reminisce of. The next track, ‘Who Are You?‘ tells a more cynical tale, with relentless garage-rock guitar and bass lines keeping it alive. Spring King then continue to intertwine gloomy-punk undertones into their energetic anthems in songs such as ‘Demons‘ and ‘It’s so Dark‘, a quality of this band that is flourishing with great responses. At this point, it could be said that Spring King may be suffering from an identity-crisis, with a seemingly endless melting-pot of influences and musical styles bouncing off each other throughout this album, but these boys shouldn’t be criticised for that. ‘Tell Me If You Like To‘ is a powerful, and solid establishing debut album, one that oozes more confidence than most being released right now. It does a good job of demonstrating that they are not the standard 16-year-old-indie-phase band that they could be accused of being at first glance – they are much more, and go much deeper.

The pre-released track ‘Rectifier‘ leads the charge of establishing what Spring King are all about. The seemingly chaotic but in reality genius arrangement of floor-shattering drums, heavy indie-rock guitar lines and Tarek to-the-point vocals makes for a highly danceable track, and a chorus that makes for a perfect British-style drunken chant. This track is also outrageous live.

Some bands are just made to be heard live, and it is always hard to capture the mad on-stage energy in professional recordings of these bands, but Spring King have taken a solid stab at it and this is only the beginning of what’s yet to come.


Listen to ‘Tell Me If You Like Tohere and buy it here.

They are also on facebook, twitter and instagram.

 

Baker out.

LIVE REVIEW. Spring King live at The Boileroom

Date: 20th May

Venue: The Boileroom, Guildford (SOLD OUT)

Main Support: Haize

This is a night that can only be described one way: A big, hot, sweaty mess.

So Manchester boys, Spring King finally grace the South-East with their presence at the best possible time. After steadily releasing smash hits such as ‘Detroit‘, ‘The Summer‘ and ‘Rectifier‘ ahead of their much-anticipated album, ‘Tell Me If You Like To‘ (out 10 June 2016), the band had plenty of new material, hype and summer vibes to work with. Additionally, the South-East’s favourite independent venueThe Boileroom proved to be the perfect hosts for this sold-out sweat and beer fuelled indie fest.

 

Opening support – JETTI

Rating:★★★☆☆

With a cheery, welcoming set, this four-piece from Ascot were a perfectly suited opening support act for tonight’s youthful-indie extravaganza.  

Their live material proved to be a pleasant surprise, despite having somewhat monotonous drum beats and bass lines that are, for some reason so popular within indie/alternative music, JETTI maintained a high level of energy throughout the set that got the crowd thoroughly warmed up. With catchy main guitar riffs, and the belting voice of front man, Toby Jones, the group were able to create a huge sound that is mostly lost on first support bands, and crowd favourites such as ‘I feel so alive‘ and ‘The Beach‘ were met with a warm reaction from the Guildford crowd.

JETTI are a prime example of an impressively young, indie-pop group that are starting to be on the rise in the world. They are capable of so much and when they find their distinct place and begin to take more risks with their music, they are only going to get better.

Check out their stuff on Souncloud below and catch ’em on facebook here

 

Main support – Haize

Rating: ★★★★☆

London boys, Haize were the perfect calm before the storm of Spring King in terms of their soft alternative-rock material and frontman’s oddly calming voice, but definitely not in terms of the crowd. Tonight the Boileroom was a blur of ‘just-had-my-first-beer’ tweens dancing and playfully shoving in an ever-growing mosh pit (Note: Can it be called a mosh-pit in an indie gig??). The lead-vocalist was looking quite apprehensive on stage, only giving the odd nervous smile and giggle when looking up at the sea of kids bouncing off each other and screaming the band’s ever-so-catchy ‘oooh’s right back at them. Meanwhile, the other members seemed to be loving it!

Haize is fronted by a charming voice, singing tales of youth, summer and love – perfect for tonight’s occasion. These tales were accompanied by the usual and irresistible indie-rock riffs that you can’t help but dance to. New material such as the group’s latest single, ‘Blue Lights‘ (out now on Soundcloud) seemed to encapsulate the set’s vibes perfectly, while old favourites such as ‘Solar‘ were stummed out effortlessly. One slightly unfortunate aspect of the set was the band members’ apparent lack of synergy and on-stage connection with each other, despite making a solid connection with the audience that was maintained throughout the set. If this was due to nerves about opening for Spring King tonight, it needn’t be an issue in the future because these guys sound great. This is a band that know exactly where they’re going, and just need to confidence to not compromise anything in the meantime.

Follow Haize on facebook, and Twitter while checking out their new single on soundcloud!

 

Headliners – Spring King

Rating:★★★★★

 

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Image: Crawford Images

 

The wait was definitely worth it with this lot from Manchester. Within seconds of the members emerging on stage, the Boileroom transformed from a room of increasingly inpatient, near-to-flagging teens into a merging sea of hands and loud screams. It was a magic trick. The band opened with long-term fan-favourite ‘Better Man‘ which unsurprisingly turned into a riotous yet glorious mess. Then went onto show us the yet-to-be-released title track of the upcoming album: ‘Tell Me If You Like To‘ (10 June 2016) which was met with gratifying cheers and only made us more excited for its full release!

 

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Image: Crawford Images

 

It is impressive to say the least watching front-man, Tarek Musa, manage to belt out lyrics with such persistent energyy  while banging the drums with such ferociousness. It was (reassuringly) not as easy as it was made to look, as he soon observed “oh look, cut my hand already” after their first song of the night. All members of the band continue to push out so much energy onto the crowd that it is unsurprising to see how they were swirling around the moshpits and bouncing off the walls all night. Guitarist Peter Darlington is especially strong at leading the crowd chants during tunes such as ‘Who Are You‘ and ‘The Summer‘. This is a band that you just have to see live, even if only to see them coordinate their individual talents on stage to recreate their huge roundhouse sound, and definitely for the atmosphere.

It was nice to see that Spring King enjoyed Guildford as much as Guildford enjoyed them, too. On several occasions throughout the set, they exclaimed that the Boileroom were “the best fucking crowd we’ve had all tour”, and I am not surprised. It was wild.

 

Make sure to check out Spring King on twitter and facebook

Stream Spring King’s latest bangers below:

Baker out