Over the last four weeks, the mission of Hello 2024 - in association with The Old Blue Last and state51 - has been to brighten up the cold, dark days of the new year with a slew of the buzziest new acts in music. Now, as the month finally draws to a close and we head upstairs in the famous East London boozer for the final night of our live series, things really do feel that bit more optimistic.
Nowadays, it comes as little surprise to hear that an act are yet to release any music and have instead chosen to cut their teeth on the live circuit, so it’s obvious as to why the room is so packed out for tonight’s openers. With no tracks released, and little social media presence - save for an Instagram account without any posts - Ebbb are already nailing the mysterious brief when they step on stage, but they soon blow curious punters away with their darkly-shrouded brand of cacophonous noise. Pairing tremendous drumming with mesmerising vocals, theirs is a heady offering that we won’t be forgetting for a while.
Taking things into an altogether different sonic direction, London trio Night Tapes soon have the room swooning along to their hazy brand of pop. Already looking poised and polished, there’s a real confidence that flows through the band’s set - even after a slight tuning hiccup means they have to restart new track ‘loner’. Landing somewhere between the warm, funky lilt of Fleetwood Mac and the dreamy, euphoric pop of Robyn and M83, the likes of ‘drifting’ and ‘Selene’ are delicious morsels, while the gathered crowd of dedicated fans throw themselves into the gleeful spirit of their slot.
If one thing is immediately clear about Circe, it’s that nothing is too ambitious when it comes to her performances. Opening proceedings with the iconic TV news segment from Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet projected behind her, the order of the day - love, lust, obsession, and overcoming fuckboys - is clearly laid out via set of tracks that channel the fuzz-drenched melodrama of Sky Ferreira’s early work. The fact that she’s also got an intense but arresting visual backdrop for the whole set up her sleeve - featuring iconic cinema clips including *those* scenes from Saltburn - makes for a wholly different experience to those we’re usually accustomed to at the Old Blue.
The fact that the name of Hello 2024’s final act quite literally translates to ‘without worry’ feels rather apt, now that January’s almost behind us, but it also doubles as a perfect summation of the carefree musical nature of Sans Soucis. Beginning her headline set tonight with the kind of show-stopping vocal performance that has the whole room hushed in anticipation, the talents of the Italo-Congolese Giulia Grispino are awe-inspiring. But as impressive as she is at hitting the high notes, she’s also more than up for a party, with her set soon slinking into infectiously dancier territory. That her songs also boast a series of powerful messages - whether about society’s views on immigrants, or the perception of periods (‘I’m Lost Around You’) - makes it all the more cathartic; it’s a truly fitting way to see off Hello 2024.