Kicking Saturday night off at the O2(2) was native Durham artist ABSORB. When I heard he was a Grime/Dubstep/Drum and Bass fusion, my heart sank. I despise all these genres with an undying passion – it’s the reason I hate clubbing and would always chose the gig over Digi. That being said, I actually really enjoyed ABSORB’s set!
He broke the ice through his of colossal beats and aggressive rap that was so loud, that the vibrations felt like they were going to realign my pulse. The overall experience was incredibly entertaining. If you weren’t bopping to the regimented beats, you were chuckling at his witty remarks – from “peer pressuring” those lurking at the back to promising to ‘Hi Five’ the group of lads who were throwing the biggest shapes. He had such relentless energy and vehemence that you couldn’t not enjoy his performance. I wouldn’t buy the CD, but I wouldn’t object to seeing him live again.
Second up was the ‘happy-go-lucky’ indie four-piece Street Party in Soho. These lads are the epitome of the indie-boy band. ‘Boy next door’ looks, catchy tunes and shed loads of synth and loop pedals. They’re upbeat, cheery, sugary sweet indie and great to dance to. The group draw parallels with the likes of The 1975, Sunset Sons, MGMT and Model Aeroplanes and definitely got the crowd going before Humanism took the stage.
What Street Party in Soho are doing has been done so many times before, but the lads do it really well and there’s nothing actually wrong with conforming to the tropes of a genre. Such a trait could actually massively work in the lads advantage because they’ll have a readymade fan base.
They might wish to broaden their sound by incorporating a rockier edge, which they’re more than capable of as their lead guitarist played the odd riff that was utterly sating. If that was more prominent in their music it’d have a bit of bite to cut the sugary sweet vibe that their music is slightly saturated with. That being said, they executed a very strong set and look forward to seeing more from them.
Finally the headline act – Humanism. A bold blend of catchy indie vibes with an enchanting ambience. They opened their set with a gritty instrumental, which showcased a more rocked up edge than the material on their album. Despite this added vigour, the band maintained their beautifully delicate tone throughout, creating this lullaby feel that resonated with the appreciative audience. Front man Andi Anderson’s bewitching vocals were heightened by raw and evocative lyrics, the most poignant of which was in the track ‘Organised Chaos’. Anderson’s melodic, soulful voice captivated the room with the line: “You organise the chaos in my mind, I can’t deny the passion in your eyes”, conveying huge emotion whilst retaining the band’s suave and effortlessly cool presence.
The band added depth to their synth fuelled ambience through edgy guitar riffs not dissimilar to that of The Foo Fighters and evoked an atmosphere that was truly electric. This was aggrandized by booming choruses especially in their belter of a track ‘Paradigm’. Their mellow sound made you want to dance the night away whilst soothing your soul into a blissful tranquillity.
The band have skilfully blended strong elements from a variety of genres and artists but obtained their own distinct sound. They’ve made synth indie less one dimensional, if (or more appropriately when) this group make it they’ll break The 1975 template that’s monopolised the genre. Yes it draws parallels with the rest of the genre but it adds this refreshing rock twist. They’ll fit into a diverse range of playlists and moods, from rewinding after a long day to getting having a good time with your mates or celebrating with that special someone. Humanism can capture those and so many other moments and are far from a one trick pony. Their music is superb and they’re excellent live performers – I’d happily pay good money to see them again. Well done lads.
Reviewer: Sal Wilcox
Photographer: Katy Blackwood