Live Review Outfit, XOYO, London
The music is subtle and measured – complex, layered and atmospheric.
The stage at XOYO is barely lit by a few small lamps as the members of Outfit sound check and set up. The concentration of Scouse accents tonight is greater than one might expect at an East London venue – a nod to the band’s Liverpudlian roots. The place is packed. At odds with the mirky dark of the club, the atmosphere is jovial, as if everybody knows each other, and the band too.
Both the band’s appearance and their debut album, ‘Performance’, makes up a laidback aesthetic – an effortless cool with a spacey nonchalant edge. The music is subtle and measured – complex, layered and atmospheric. Well-dressed, polite and generally stationary on stage, the fivesome move between songs with little talk, occasionally offering a song name or the context of a track: “Have you ever wanted to change who you are and start afresh? This one’s about doing just that,” says lead singer Andrew Hunt.
However, the music live is a different story. It’s powerful and, for want of a better word, big. Each element is given room to breathe – so the drums stand out, often leading, the bass jumps with licks and walks, as Hunt’s vocals, joined by synth player Tom Gorton, smooth across the top. Outfit’s music tackles so many genres and emotions, but all with the same determined calm. It has a dance floor to feel to it but there’s always a pop sheen ot it that deals out the infectious hooks and melodies peppered throughout.
The band is consistent and competent – all sounds as it should – but Outfit has a surprising ability to shock. From screaming guitar riffs and hair-tingling vocals to head-banging outros and hard-kicking bass drums, there are several occasions over the evening when the crowd is shaken from its cheering sway. Outfit’s thoughtful, engaging blend of electronic space pop is intriguing enough to capture attention and catchy enough to hold it.
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