I was under the impression Peckham was full of young, in-touch hipsters who loved music. I assumed this multicultural, semi-gentrified society would serve as fertile crowd for dancing, moshing, and generally appreciating music.
How wrong I was. When we arrived, Bad Parents were playing, a Jack Johsonesque duo, purveyors of soft indie music. It wasn’t an environment most conducive to dancing, but the crowd were particularly sombre. Nonetheless, Bad Parents played a decent set of straightforward indie music, though I feel their performance would have been much improved with a drummer. Live, the duo doesn’t have quite the same resonance as they do in their recordings, especially when one is used to all their songs having a full-band sound.
Milk Disco impressed me by sounding much better live than they did on Spotify. I wasn’t a huge fan of the track I heard from them (‘Welcome To The Milk Disco’), but the band’s live show was a significant improvement, their own brand of Foalsy, Friendly Fires-type indie rock working well in such a small, intimate venue. Again, though, there was very little movement in the crowd. While the Great Unimpressed stood around like lemons, my friend Connor and I were annoying people by dancing into them and pouring our beer on each other.
We pushed our way to the front (read: walked through because it wasn’t that busy) for YOWL’s set, after seeing them enter the establishment during our interim cigarette break. I’d been excited to see them for quite a while, and they played all the crowd-pleasers: ‘Teeth’, ‘Darkroom’ and, of course, the infallible, roaring ‘My Headache Likes to Speak’. As with all small, stageless gigs, there was a several metre gap between the monitors and the crowd. (People have a fear of being too close to the band, for some reason. They’re just other humans. Relax.) Connor and I occupied this space, no doubt pissing the hell out of the photographer trying to do her job, hindered by me screaming ‘FIX ME ANOTHER ONE!!’ into the lead singer’s face. Unfortunately, the rest of the crowd didn’t do any dancing at all.
The highlight of the show, though, was the last track. Being the selfish, obnoxious music fan I am, and the end of every tune I yelled ‘Saturday Drag’, my favourite track, and ostensibly the band’s most popular, judging by Spotify listens. Thankfully, they’d already included it as the final number on their set list, so I was rewarded by being able to sing along, to the frontman’s delight, right until the last word. After the gig, the band seemed grateful that somebody had come along and actually bothered to listen to the music/learn the lyrics/generally enjoy themselves. Nice guys, too. It’s a shame the crowd didn’t do their music justice.
YOWL: Fantastic show.
Audience: Terrible show.
YOWL are about to embark on a co-headline tour with LICE, and recently released a video for ‘My Headache Likes to Speak’ (above).