Blaenavon – 5/4/17
Just two days before the release of their extremely long-awaited and anticipated debut album, ‘That’s Your Lot’, Blaenavon took to Birmingham’s Hare and Hounds to erupt frenzy and excitement amongst their Brummie fans.
Before the band has even taken the stage, a small group has gathered down front already dripping in sweat from their aggressive energy for support the Anteros. A few devotees are holding daffodils (in response to the band’s soon to be released album artwork) and as the three piece make their way onto the stage the flowers are raised high into the air. The Hampshire trio leap into, ‘Hell Is In My Head’, taken from 2015’s ‘Miss World’ EP. The adoring fans immediately are urged into a riot, as front man Ben Gregory lunges across the stage, dressed in a gothic-esque, old-fashioned suit, with smeared eyeliner and his long-draped hair waving into the crowd. With quickening guitars and sharp bass riffs from Frank Wright, they leave the reverb running and surge into previous single and album track, ‘Let’s Pray.’ Gregory croons ‘let’s pray for death’, as the lyrics are yelled back at him.
The band’s first single from 2013, ‘Into The Night,’ still remains a fan favourite, as the Birmingham crowd pushes and shoves vigorously, with the woozy guitar and bass grooves bringing those further back into an unavoidable bop. One thing’s for certain, the track is no way outdated, but has been developed and executed with such maturity in order to keep up with the band’s development. The reaction to ‘My Bark Is Your Bite’ indicates the band’s inevitable success, as a sense of euphoria fills the room. Latest single, ‘Lonely Side,’ only announced at the start of the week as Radio 1’s ‘Hottest Record in the world’, gathers an unexpected sing-a-long, demonstrating the dedicated fan base Blaenavon have gathered to drive them forward. The track has the potential to be yet another indie-banger, with its infectious plucky guitar riff and its wistful vocals, hinting at the band’s growth and unleashing excitement for the full album.
They slow it down on ‘Alice Come Home’, a track you can find live way back from 2012. Dating the band’s progression, it builds from tender vocals and gentle guitar hooks, to atmospheric bass lines and heavy drumming, back down to softness, revealing not only their talent to churn out contagious choruses, but also the impressiveness of their skill. Album opener ‘Take Care’ teases the new material, whilst ‘I Will Be The World’ entices the crowd in, with controlled and building guitars, and drumming , before exploding into vicious guitars to show off Blaenavon’s heavier side. Old, unreleased track ‘Swans’ is where Harris McMillan shows off his unmistakable talent in the tight drumming. They leap into the popular ‘Orthodox Man’, with the joyful vocals and groovy bass igniting excitement in the crowd as fans dance and jump with unstoppable energy. Closing with ‘Prague’, an all time crowd pleaser, now rebuilt into ‘Prague’99’, Gregory warbles ‘it’s you I said, you keep running through my head’, as their fans shout along, lifting hands up in celebration. They exit off the stage and out through the crowd greeted with squeals, hugs and handshakes.
For a young band, they’re confident and assured – but they have every right to be. It may have taken four years since the first single for an album, but judging from the new (and old) tracks played tonight, it’ll certainly be worth the wait.
‘That’s Your Lot’ is out now .