It’s Sunday evening in the centre of town as we head down to the iconic Sunflower Lounge, the place that has hosted the likes of Dua Lipa in the early days of her career and I can’t help but feel that Larkins may have a similar future ahead of them.
From their indie style and friendly manner to their strong vocals and catchy songs, they seem to combine all the necessary criteria for success. As we head to chat in the nearby Wetherspoons, you can see the chemistry of this band, more like a group of friends heading for pub grub as opposed to a band ready to play in Birmingham for the first time.
As we get comfortable and the meals are ordered, we get to find out more about their style as a band, how a boring English Lesson at college brought the name into existence and what they’re looking forward to after this tour has ended.
Formed at college, the boys rehearsed by sneaking around after school hours to use the music rooms, with Lead singer, Josh explaining that when trying to record their first demo the cleaner ended up kicking them out, you can tell already that they are just plain passionate about making their sound. The name evolution coming from an English lesson about poetry shows that there were more musical thoughts on their minds.
From childhood friends, with Josh and guitarist, Dom being friends since their early teens and then building and taking it more seriously as they arrived in college, this is not their first tour and it certainly won’t be their last. They seem to love the surrealism of being on tour, which they describe as being a ‘dreamland’ and very much exempt from normal life, their excitement and drive for success seems infectious. This tour so far has seen the band play some unique venues, Henry said the best one so far was Leicester, where they played ‘The Shed’ a coffee shop turned music venue, it certainly fits the wavy shirts and floppy hair of these lads and they seemed pleased with the turnout. You can’t help but feel warm about their humble attitude as they come to terms with the fact that people are paying to see them specifically.
But it’s no surprise to me that they are gaining popularity, it’s Foals meets the 1975 with flashes of their early influences like Bon Iver, Simon and Garfunkel and Everything Everything. They credit their individual personalities and music tastes to the unique and captivating sound which Josh hopes comes through in their new single Something Beautiful.
Josh explained how the single was written by using a new technique of listing names, briefly interrupted by the arrival of his Christmas Dinner (although the turkey did look a little suspect, the lashings of gravy made up for it). The band seemed to like the ambiguity that this ‘something’ is beautiful and wanted to write an upbeat pop tune. In fact it’s this catchy new tune that drew me to the band in the first place and I couldn’t wait to get into the Sunflower Lounge and hear the set come to life.
So we wandered over to the basement, dark and edgy but packed full of eager listeners, there was excitement about the gig to come. And we were not disappointed.
Bright lights, blinding strobes and sensational music. Their energy never wavered as they played their hearts out with a setlist full of every emotion possible. The lights added this production style that any artist should be jealous of, moody yet fun enough to get the crowd dancing! They interacted well with the crowd and even spotted some regular fans to shout them out. It was so heartwarming to see such passion on stage but also so much talent, a show so professional, you’d be surprised that it wasn’t at the institute or academy. Playing tracks that litter their most played on Spotify to the ones yet to be released, it was an incredible gig. They whipped the crowd up with shouty tunes like Hit and Run to the emotional, yet somehow cheery, Sugar Sweet it was easy to pick up the lyrics and sing along. A crowd favourite clearly being Tale of Cassandra, giving you those Vampire Weekend sounds that demands a boogie and closing the set with the incredible new single Something Beautiful which as the title suggests, is a beautiful song with a beat that has to be danced to.
Afterwards they treated their fans by coming out for a chat, taking pictures and then picking up and clearing away their gear ready to drive home for a few days break before the next gig. They all mentioned that going home was the worst bit as they were itching to be back in a venue again singing their hearts out and pleasing the crowd. I can’t deny, it was an awesome gig and I hope it won’t be long before we see them in Birmingham again.
Catch the interview here: