It’s a rarity when you approach a bill without a sense of trepidation at any of the bands, however, Scared to Dance’s gig last week was an exception to that rule. The line up was an impressive selection of bands, complimentary to one another’s sounds without being overtly similar. All the more impressive when you consider this was the start of a brand new gig night for Scared To Dance, who had only previously dabbled with gig nights.
Now five years old and well established as the Indie-pop hang-out of choice, Scared To Dance’s reputation on the London scene is one that has grown from humble beginnings. Starting off life back in 2009 at the Slaughtered Lamb, it was originally a free-entry affair; it rapidly gained a reputation as one of very few genuinely different club nights London had to offer. Now located in its current home in Dalston, it pairs their own tastes with those of a series of guest DJ’s. From obvious choices like bands (The Just Joans, Joanna Gruesome, Summer Camp), and DJ’s (Gideon Coe is a semi regular guest) to the less likely sources of poet Simon Armitage and footballer Pat Nevin, the only requirement for gaining a slot appears to being passionate about what you play, and what more could you want from a club night?
Tonight’s opening act Chorusgirl, aren’t Indie-pop in a chiming C-86 sense, but they do have a penchant for a hooky guitar line! In fact they’ve got tonnes of them. The brain child of front-woman Silvi-W, on record she is Chorusgirl but fulfilling her visions live takes a five-piece band. They describe themselves as a “jangle and roll” band, with no ballads, and the later part is definitely true! They never pause for breath in a riotous set that takes them through influences ranging from grunge to the artier end of brit-pop. Silvi’s fantastic vocals, mixed with power-chord driven punk, and some fantastic surf influenced riffing combine together to recall Be Your Own Pet, whilst a moment where the band count 1-2-3-4 in German, will see audiences everywhere trying to rack their brain to remember who did that in the early 2000s (as I remembered about a day later it was The Rakes on Strasbourg). They’re a joyous band to watch, and still wonderfully raw feeling. They’ll develop more tricks over the time, and anyone who appreciates Bill Callahan is onto a winner as far as I’m concerned! A single will follow as part of the wonderful Odd-Box Singles club in the near future, hoorah!
Being There follow, they’re probably the most different band on the bill tonight, the NME once described them as “baggie-beauties”; I honestly have no idea why though, as they sound nothing like The Stone Roses! Instead the influences on show are more modern, obvious reference points being the chill-wave of Washed Out and the gloom-dance of New Order. Their debut album, Breaking Away , came out on the former home of Noah & The Whale, Young & Lost Club. They could come across a little cold, but beneath the layers of washy synths and hazy vocals lie the beating heart of a pop song. Take their song To Allan Ginsberg, it could be Gentle Friendly covering The Cure, and In The Dark is so poppy that I’m led to recall Duran Duran, but for once that’s a compliment.
The main support for the evening Night Flowers are so well received, that you could argue they’d be a worthy headliner in their own right. They do a wonderful line in the co-fronted boy-girl vocal switching, as their natural chemistry plays out over a musical back drop that’s equal parts shoe-gaze and pure pop. In singer Hetty they have a superb front-woman, she’s reminiscent of The Long Blonde’s, Kate Jackson, though that could just be the excellent leopard print top, at one point she prowls the stage with a tambourine, it’s like Liam Gallagher, only considerably less annoying! Musically they recall mid-noughties, Canadian, Indie hit-makers Stars. As well as an arsenal of quality tracks, largely taken from their superb self-titled ep, they also possess the worlds happiest drummer, who’d get top marks if I wasn’t forced to take one off for wearing sun-glasses on stage, at night, in a room with no windows!
Which brings us to the headliners Flowers. Flowers, whilst possessing an almost un-googleable name, have been making waves lately, and with their debut album, Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do, coming out on Fortuna Pop in the Autumn, you’re likely to hear an awful lot more about them very soon. They’ve only existed for just over a year, but as well as signing to just about the biggest indie-pop label in the world, they also roped in Bernard Butler to produce their debut album. Seeing them live, you can see what caught people’s interest, from the first time singer, Rachel, opens her mouth it’s jaw-dropping. Her choral vocal soars, recalling the sounds of Golden Fable and The Cocteau Twins, musically they keep things bright and simple, a 3-piece, their sound revolves around Sam’s jangling guitar and Jordan’s subtle, intricate drumming. With the current success of the likes of Daughter and Chvrches, their distillation of shoe-gaze and emotive pop hint at a band ready for all the success that currently seems inevitable, they have all the potential to go stratospheric, and would be a welcome blast of intrigue in mainstream music.
Scared To Dance are back at the Moustache Bar in Dalston, this Saturday night with guest DJ’s The Just Joans.
Flowers debut album Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do is out on Fortuna Pop! in the Autumn. Nightflowers self title EP is out now.