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Big Special play tiny but ferocious gig at Billy’s Cafe to celebrate new single ‘Desperate Breakfast’

19th September 2023

The Midlands duo played a special one-off show in the Bethnal Green café and we caught all the action.

It’s not often that a beloved greasy spoon plays host to the buzziest of new bands, but then again, it’s not often that a band like Big Special roll into town. Celebrating the release of their newest single ‘Desperate Breakfast’ in the entirely on-brand location of Billy’s Cafe, the Midlands duo have given the East London spot a whole new lease of life for tonight’s one-off performance; it’s just the smell of the deep fat fryer that gives it away…

With coffee cups swapped for tinnies, and tables, chairs and appropriate condiments stacked away, a keen crowd pack into the intimate space for the pair’s ear-blistering set. Recent single ‘THIS HERE AIN’T WATER’ is a cathartic opus, with Joe Hicklin’s vocals moving effortlessly from its soulful, scorched chorus through to its more gritty verses, while ‘SHITHOUSE’ is as powerful as its name implies; drummer Callum Moloney hits the skins so hard he soon causes damage. “I broke a stick in a greasy spoon!” he triumphantly declares, before Joe replies with a deadpan wink: “That sounds like a euphemism…”

Big Special, Billy's Café, London

Their aforementioned new single further showcases their talent for balancing things on a sonic knife’s edge, with its forlorn, crooning opening (“I toast my tea in mourning / For a morning come too soon”) transformed into a frenzied narrative around the daily slog of working life, before they round things off with a handful of as-yet-unreleased tracks for good measure. Arguably the most raucous guests that Billy’s will have visit for a while, Big Special’s set won’t be forgotten any time soon.

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