Waltzing around the stage and almost throwing themselves into the faces of the crowd, it’s no wonder Spector have such a tight following of dedicated fans. Following a long break after recording their debut album ‘Enjoy It While It Lasts’ in 2012, Spector have returned with their highly anticipated headline tour following the release of new album ‘Moth boys’.
Following the sold out opening night at Bristol’s Thekla, it seemed a little odd and underwhelming at the lack of interest shown at their second date at The Institute, particularly considering the success of both their albums. This meant having to be moved to the smaller, more intimate room of The Temple, which even then seemed surprisingly empty. However, this was still overcome with the brimming enthusiasm and eagerness of the crowd, all still in very high spirits and a booze-filled hum.
Kicking the night off were Spring King [7/10] who showed huge potential. Almost overflowing the small stage, the band were centred on lead and drummer Tarek Musa, giving them an interesting dynamic. Quickly launching into sounds of scuzzy guitars and an almost surf/skate pop-punk ensemble, the boys showed off their versatility, effortlessly progressing from the boppy sounds of ‘Mumma’ to the fuzzy garage sounds of their biggest song ‘City’, encompassed into a high energy performance in an attempt to reel the crowd in. Although those nearer the front were happily dancing and shaking their heads along to the beat, the band seemed to find it difficult to engage the whole crowd – even commenting about the lack of those listening. Despite this, Spring King have all the right ingredients for success and 2016 could definitely be their time to make it big.
Strutting onto the stage as if he were some godly figure, emphasised by his biblical-like long hair, it is clear frontman Fred MacPherson knows how to work an audience. Loud cheers and whistles echoed as Spector [8/10], ironically as ever opening with the last song on their latest album ‘Lately It’s You’, getting the crowd excited despite its sombre start. The band have managed to find an oddly satisfying marriage of sounds, indie disco meets a synthy mix of angst and lyrics echoing the teenage cries of an existential crisis. The band swiftly transitioned into a solid favourite off the first album, ‘Celestine’, filling the room with energy and urging the crowd to jump in one sweaty unison. It was clear to see that the new material had gone down a hit with fans, with recent singles ‘All The Sad Young Men’ and ‘Don’t Make Me Try’ getting just as huge reaction as firm favourites off the first album.
Despite the lack of a turnout, the room was filled with frenzy and elation. This could be put down to the huge stage presence of frontman MacPherson. His showmanship during the show was second to none, trying to make eye contact with even those at the back of the room and handing over the microphone to allow a particularly passionate fan her only chance to belt out the starting lines of ‘Bad Boyfriend’. MacPherson at one point even took a girls phone, taking some rather questionable selfies, generating more cheers from the overwhelmed flailing fan girl mess of the first few rows. It was clear to see this involvement with the crowd is one of the reasons Spector win people over, although at points it felt like the crowd were becoming almost too dictating with their desperate pleas and demands to play ‘Twenty Nothing’ after every song.
The dynamics between the new and older tracks worked to create a full throttled, enigmatic performance that had the crowd twisting and belting the lyrics out in a collective sense of euphoria. McPherson manage to create a very personal performance, aided by the smaller venue, making it very clear how much he knew the audience – with his dry humour and mentions of ‘hitting up snobs’ after the show, getting a distinctly large roar from those in their late teens, all who have taken many a pilgrimage to the renowned indie shrine.
The main set ended with an almost obvious mix of ‘Chevy Thunder’, ‘Never Fade Away’ and ‘All The Sad Young Men’ in a bid to leave the audience with that energetic, ecstatic guitar-induced buzz that only an impressionable gig leaves you with – and they managed to do just that.