Last week’s crowd was a swirling frenzy of sweaty bodies to the slacker-grunge soundtrack of YOWL, Dead Pretties, FISH and Goat Girl. Tonight was a complete contrast, as dazed dreamers replaced the sweaty moshers and The Old Blue Last was blanketed with the dreamy sounds of Puma Blue, Cosmo Pyke, Girl Ray and Swimming Tapes. On a freezing January evening, these seductively chill shoegazers were more calming than thirty Max Cold & Flu tablets as they wrapped our ears with the fuzzy warmth of their sound.
Puma Blue’s ethereal ambience set the mood perfectly for the evening. Jacob’s delicate and wavey jazz chords simultaneously plucked the heartstrings of the crowd, as his seductive falsetto voice tranquilised the room. Together with a sweet sweet saxophone, Puma Blue lulled the crowd into a state of melancholic bliss. The whole set was a delicate blend of lazy soul, slow jazz, and Jeff Buckley falsetto. Have a listen to ‘Want Me’ on Soundcloud and you’ll hear what I’m talking about.
Next up was the treat that is Cosmo Pyke. Backed by drummer and friend Eddie Amos, Cosmo delivered warm lo-fi Frank Ocean x Mac DeMarco vibes that were peppered with witty lyrics and nocturnal pulses of Peckham. His set narrated the tales of youth and relationships, with his first recorded single ‘Social Sites’ reflecting on the end of a relationship (“this loves sweet like tooth decay”) but his sleepy dream-jazz sound gave the subject-matter a fuzzy warmth and sense of moving on. In between verses, Pyke bounces into augmented chords with a huge smile on his face, and it’s clear that with his humble chill and raw passion, he’ll go far in whatever he does.
Girl Ray brought a smile to everyone’s faces with their beachy dream-pop vibes and sweet togetherness. Before they started the set, they discussed which way they’d hula spin so we knew we were in for a treat. When talking to the crowd, the girls seemed a tad nervous and shy but that inhibition cascaded away when they played together. Frequently throwing each other toothy smiles and euphoric looks, their sound was as tight as their sisterhood friendship as they pounded out scratchy laid-back tunes.
By this point the crowd were dazed and amused, ready to sway to the dreamy guitar pop of Swimming Tapes. After floating through ‘Set The Fire’, the band expressed to the packed-out room how touched they were by the turn-out and joked how they nearly didn’t get in themselves since the queues were so long. The turn-out was testimony to how universally loveable the chill sounds of tonight’s bands are, and foreshadows the inevitable success and popularity they’ll certainly attract in the near future.
With these bands to provide the soundtrack, your summer of 2017 will be a dreamy one.
Words and Images by Meg Firth x