Nai Harvest are halfway into the second song when guitarist Ben Thompson is forced to interrupt the performance. This London show is the band’s last ever, and those in attendance are determined to savour every last shred. It’s why, from the very first chords of the set opener, mayhem ensues as fans scramble onto the stage and launch themselves into the crowd. There’s a full-on invasion by the first chorus.
“This is our last fucking show,” declares guitarist Ben Thompson to cheers after security attempt to shut the show down after two songs. “I’m literally not going to play another note until you stand to each side of the stage and fucking stay there. And if someone’s crying, then you be the fucking hero and help them. But until then, they don’t need help — look at these fucking punk kids! They’re all punk as fuck! They’re fucking hard as fuck, they’re fine! Dock it off our fucking paycheck, I don’t care.”
While security eventually relents, the passion of the crowd never once peters down. The whole set is a triumph of the Sheffield duo’s fuzzed-out garage-pop collection, and not once is the stage unoccupied by a dancing, stage-diving fan. It’s difficult to remember that this is, in fact, a farewell show, because if anything, it doesn’t feel like one; it feels like a celebration.
The hour-long set pulls from the Nai Harvest back catalogue, oldies from ‘Hold Open My Head’ and newer releases like ‘Hairball’ getting their last day out in the sun. Scuzzy punk pleasers ‘Sick On My Heart’ and ‘Rush’ are rollercoasters of emotion, slower crowd favourite ‘Ocean of Madness’ rousing group sing-alongs.
“I don’t think we have friends who haven’t been a part of Nai Harvest, this band, in some capacity,” says Ben in just one of countless thank yous and shout-outs across the night.
It feels far too soon by the time set-closer ‘Buttercups’ arrives, the night having progressed in quick-succession. Nai Harvest boast a discography with fast-paced, punchy, ‘90s-referencing tunes, the whole night a sensory reverb-soaked thrill ride of distorted guitars.
“I think I can say that we’re stopping this band when each and every one of our songs is fucking great,” says Ben, and the crowd yell their agreement in unison. “It’s good to stop knowing that all you’ve got is bangers after five years, you know?”
Photos: Lindsay Melbourne
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