This weekend, Amsterdam’s famous Paradiso venue turns into its own compact festival, bringing a host of the buzziest new buzzy buzz bands from the UK and beyond together for the two-day musical extravaganza that is London Calling.
Established in 1992, the event’s played host to early shows from basically every indie band of note in the 25 years since. From Blur to Tame Impala, Florence & the Machine to Foals, this lot don’t miss a trick.
Needless to say, this year’s line-up is also teeming with future stars. Here are our picks of the bunch, so you can make sure you’ve got your “I saw them here first” stories in the bag.
Over the last year, South London boys Shame have built a reputation as one of the capital’s most fearsome live bands. Frequently topless, often vomiting, and always dishing out an aggressive charge of visceral noise, you won’t forget a Shame set once you’ve seen one. Now, with a debut album surely imminent and a recent, rowdy sold out Scala headline show under their belts, the group are turning it up even further. From the gnarly snarl of early tracks ‘The Lick’ and ‘Gold Hole’ to the relentless pulse of recent single ‘Concrete’, these are tightly-coiled tracks born to provoke; Amsterdam, be warned.
When you play your second ever show - and the first in your hometown - to a sold out, 600-capacity crowd, then you know you’re probably doing something right. That’s the position uber-hyped newcomers Superorganism found themselves in last month, and boy did they live up to the pressure. An eight-person troupe in primary coloured rain macs, they sonically dance through genres with giddy abandon while coating the stage in the kind of bright, joyous projections that make the room feel like being in the belly of a particularly meme-friendly kid’s TV show. It’s exuberant and positive and a total antidote to the horrors of the real world right now - convinced yet?
Part full-throttle punk spit and bile, part angular art school Pulp-isms, Hull boys LIFE are a gloriously singular proposition. In debut LP ‘Popular Music’, they’ve whittled up a collection of state-of-the-nation critiques, delivered with enough wit and panache to elevate them from mere disgruntled commentators, while a recent tour with Nadine Shah is sure to have honed their already excellent live show into a no nonsense tour de force. The City of Culture’s done itself proud.
Weaves already had us reeled in hook, line and sinker with last year’s unreasonably good self-titled debut LP, and now they’re already back with its also-excellent follow up. That’s a work rate we can get on board with. Taking their brand of wonky indie pop and honing it into a lyrically sharp, sonically ambitious new beast, the Canadian’s showed that speed can still produce a record of hefty substance. Needless to say, we’re just a little bit excited to watch it live too.
LA’s Starcrawler are an uncompromising proposition. Fond of a bit of onstage vampiric bleeding (fake, we hope), singer Arrow De Wilde is a front woman in the truest sense - a wild-eyed, charisma-filled attention stealer with stage presence to spare. Musically, meanwhile they’re a glam-punk, riffing monster; think early Yeah Yeah Yeahs, raised on a diet of T-Rex. This is one set that’s never going to be boring.