It’s taken Blaenavon five long, painstaking years to release their debut album. If any band deserve to celebrate its release day with their biggest headline show to date, then, it’s the Hampshire trio.
Celebration defines tonight’s proceedings as a result, then, and from the second ‘Hell Is My Head’ bursts into the iconic surroundings of Heaven, every soul in attendance is fully up for the party.
The album only came out mere hours ago, but its earlier singles have already been taken in as classics in their few months in the world - ‘Let’s Pray’ follows the opener and invites a swarm of swaying bodies and waving arms, while ‘My Bark Is Your Bite’ is even more vicious and cutting live, with frontman Ben Gregory thrashing around the stage and right up to the eyeballs of the front row with the confidence of the new-age rockstar he’s surely about to become.
There’s an unwavering devotion shown to Blaenavon tonight, and Ben even picks out those singing along to album cuts ‘Swans’ and ‘Take Care’, not even released for 24 hours. When ‘Orthodox Man’ kicks off a wildly encouraged encore, it’s clear that Blaenavon have a bonafide hit on their hands - teaming the best of their predecessors in the British indie scene, this is one that will soundtrack grubby indie discos for years to come, and tonight’s crowd react accordingly.
A frighteningly huge stage invasion greets closer ‘Prague’, with the trio completely blanked from view by halfway through the song. If Blaenavon wanted to celebrate the release of their debut album in style, London gave them an emphatic party tonight, and it’s guaranteed that they’ll be back for plenty more. ‘That’s Your Lot?’ Nah, see you in venues five times this size very soon indeed.
Photos: Phoebe Fox