Live Review

Various Cruelties, 100 Club, London

Awkward but amicable.

Awkward but amicable, that might best describe Various Cruelties’ first sold-out London show at the 100 Club last night. Shuffling on stage, black-clothed but bambi-eyed lead singer Liam O’Donnell makes for an unusual frontman who’s certainly still getting used to the recent attention.

With their single being played on Radio 1 and on the cusp of becoming the big guitar band of 2012, Various Cruelties display a kind of loving bromance and wide-eyed positivity that could help them survive in the music industry shark pool. Really, it makes your eyes water; in a good way.

Opening with the anthemic ‘Neon Truth’ and following up with their most recent single ‘Great Unknown’, the band showcase song structures that nod as much to stadium rock as they do to angular pop – a thoroughly vibrant mixture that got the lads dancing and the girls fawning over.

Leeds boy O’Donnell’s emotive yet soulful rendition of loves lost and hearts broken paired with the energetic and upbeat sound of the band really made for an outstanding gig experience. An honorary mention must go to bassist Beanie Bhebhe, who saved the day with groove and glee when mic malfunctions and O’Donnel’s “in-between-song” paralysis kicked in.

The haunting retro beauty of ‘She Is The One’ and Zutons-esque ‘Don’t Want To Waste Your Time’ show the multi-faceted talents of a band that understands how to do slow and heart-wrenching shoe-gaze soul as well as simple, good-time pop. Step aside Alex Turner, Liam O’Donnell now is the posterboy for edgy introverted indie pop.

Closer of the night and the song that initially put Various Cruelties on the map, ‘Chemicals’, proved why 2012 will be theirs for the taking. Big choruses and big lyrics will hopefully equate a big future. Now work on that stage presence guys!

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