It’s a miserable Tuesday evening and I find myself at the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch with ahh the reassuring Vice logo above the door I’m feeling comfortable in my ‘indieness’ already. The brilliantly maverick magazine So Young has collaborated with the Great Escape Festival (who literally are a full proof artist hit factory) to bring three acts that have been announced as part of the ‘First Fifty’ lineup, with many, many, many more to be announced.
To begin the evening we have nihilists Hotel Lux, who given their demeanor and stage presence, appear to be waiting to fill out a tax return form rather than performing some nice indie tunes. The songs are reminiscent of Joy Division I guess and the finished tracks offer potential, especially Envoi (cheers Spotify for the help, as ever) but it was not an enjoyable set to watch. An equivalent to a strong xanax, I felt deflated in places where music is usually meant to inspire. I had previously interviewed Alex Rice, the lead singer of the next act to perform Sports Team, who expressed his distaste for bands who are miserable and do not have more fun with their work. While he did not refer to Hotel Lux when he said that, well if the shoe fits…..
On the topic of Sports Team, they continue to be a delight. Vibrant, energetic and funny; they worked as the perfect antidote to Hotel Lux. Ashton Kutcher is a soon-to-be anthem (just release it already!) and first release Stanton is Pulp meets Queen. The setlist flies by in the best possible way, with Rice being ever the magnetic frontman who loves a little walk into the audience. This is the strongest I have ever seen the group, the progression from only September being clear to see. They show incredible promise and stand out in a scene of moody, generic posturing.
The same could be said for tonight’s headliners The Orielles. Although reminiscent of new wave groups such as The Go Go’s and The Waitresses, the three piece group sound unique and authentic. Guitarist Henry Carlyle Wade, only 17, is one who takes talking duties being a bubbly and engaging presence throughout. You can’t help but root for them all. Sugar Tastes Like Salt is an angry putdown, Joey Says We Got It is a spacey alternative jingle. They also play tracks from their new album, the best of which is like 1980’s prom slow jam; soothing and melodic.
If these tonight was showing some of the best the future of music has to offer, then it isn’t looking too bad.
Feature image courtesy of So Young Magazine