A good month in advance of Valentine’s Day, there’s romance in the air. Sort of. Trudy are a Liverpool-based bunch who’d swap their instruments for a bunch of roses if they had the option. Songs are full of longing, but not in the traditional soppy ballad sense. Instead, they drunkenly bark their declarations of love with all the subtlely of a wedding in a shopping centre. Live, it’s more ferocious. The dynamic between these three is intense, frontman Olly swerving sense while bandmates Lewis and Brad fire sparks from different sides of the stage. This is their first London show, and anticipation’s met head-on with one of the best capital debuts we’ve seen in years. Truly, Trudy have the makings of something special.
On record, Willie J Healey - an Oxford musician lapping up early comparisons to King Krule - doesn’t fit with the fired-up theatrics of Trudy. But something’s shifted in the last few months. Over the course of the past year, Healey’s put together a tight-knit live band who - given a few bottles of whiskey - could give Mac DeMarco’s touring troupe a run for their money. There’s a sharper edge to this newcomer, and his polite charm hides a tough exterior.
Stripping away the sharper edges of Willie’s sound, Bruising swathe theirs in a sweaty fuzz. In ‘Honey’, they have a ready made anthem in waiting, and they fire it out with gusto tonight, likewise ‘Emo Friends’, which receives a far more rapturous reception than its namesake would normally be able to muster. That recent stint on the road with Los Campesinos! sitting proudly on their chests, there’s a tighter-knit feel to everything this evening - one that should see them sail through that fast-approaching festival season, inviting all aboard the fuzz-pop express.
After a brief mid-set-up singalong to Justin Bieber, Diet Cig leap aboard the teeny Old Blue Last stage all grins and Ash Ketchum-aping red caps, and that youthful abandon defines every all-too-short second of tonight. Smashing through an almost-greatest-hits-esque set, such is the anticipation for these UK shows, it’s mere seconds into ‘Cardboard’ before Alex Luciano’s atop the drum kit, high-kicking and grinning like she’s on a sherbet bender that might never end. He might be stuck behind his kit-cum-adventure-playground, but Noah Bowman’s no less excited. His t-shirt lasts nanoseconds before being discarded in a sweaty, side of stage heap, and by the time he whips out a shaker for ‘Sleep Talk’, things have hit full on carnival atmosphere.
Alex might dedicate a song to those at the back who “won’t stop dancing”, but there’s movers and shakers hogging every inch of the Old Blue Last’s floor this evening - the momentum they carry looks set to shoot Diet Cig right to the top of the pile.
Photos: Emma Swann.