Every January, DIY descends upon East London’s Old Blue Last for a four-week series of gigs designed to turn off the telly, get us off the sofa, and thrust us right back into live music’s sweet embrace. And because it’s the new year, we feel it only right to celebrate the very best of new music, by showcasing an array of the bands we’re most excited to watch for the next twelve months.
And, just as the doctor ordered, the first night of Hello 2020 is set to be a chaotic affair. From the off, upstairs is packed out, with New Year revellers desperate to get a fix of new music.
Kicking off the evening are Sunderland’s own Roxy Girls. A quartet who are sure to become darlings of BBC 6 Music very soon, they’re an enticing project from the off. Their brand of post-punk comes littered with jarring changes in time signature, guitar squalls and intricate drum licks, all propelled by frontman Tom Hawick’s distinctive northern drawl. Almost as if Parquet Courts and The Futureheads got together and jammed to see what might happen, Roxy Girls spend their set teetering on the edge, almost as if they’re about to lose control of it all, before settling back into the convulsive rhythms.
Treeboy & Arc may also herald from more northern climes, but the Leeds outfit are an entirely different post-punk prospect. More chaotic and unhinged, their set swirls with frenetic guitars, set against a more synthetic backdrop, giving the entire thing a somewhat surreal feel. It’s their final song though - a droney, scorched version of what sounds suspiciously like a cover of Rachel Stevens’ ‘Some Girls’ - that’s most intoxicating, leading the way perfectly into the carnage that tonight’s headliners whip up.
Having spent a good chunk of 2019 honing their live show, Heavy Lungs feel like real heavyweights when they take on the Old Blue tonight. Fresh from a hefty run of shows in support of their most recent EP ‘Measure’ - which includes their celebratory homecoming as part of our Jäger Curtain Call programme - the Bristol punks are on blistering form. It takes just minutes for the crowd to explode into life, with crowd surfers and mosh pits transforming the upstairs room.
Leading it all is frontman Danny Nedelko, who spends the majority of the set either diving across the crowd and towards the back bar, or channeling the slick dance moves of Iggy Pop. With energy at a dizzying high, it’s the perfect way to ring in the new year and end the first night of Hello 2020. Until next Tuesday...