Live Music Review: Blaenavon at the Rescue Rooms

28 September 16 words: Jamie Barlow
"As one sashays through the throng of The Hunna’s packed-out crowd, it is noticeable that a hugely youthful audience is gathered"

Hampshire's three-piece Blaenavon are a band with a vast amount of promise, based on their performance at the Rescue Rooms on Thursday night.

The teenage trio lean heavily on the dark romanticism side of indie and comparisons nod towards Foals and White Lies, whereas their more uplifting tracks from their expanding repertoire hint to the early albums of Two Door Cinema Club, The Maccabees and Embrace.

The band step foot into the hue of the spotlight of the Rescue Rooms in support of guitar-heavy, bourgeoning indie troubadours The Hunna; in fact, Blaenavon are back in town only a week after playing on the undercard of highly-rated Sheffield outfit The Sherlocks’ sold-out gig last Wednesday.

As one sashays through the throng of The Hunna’s packed-out crowd, it is noticeable that a hugely youthful audience is gathered, symbolised by a virtually non-existent queue for the bar – and parents in accompaniment of their teenage children.

Taking to the stage, the Transgressive Records-signed Blaenavon get off the mark with opener Hell is in my Head.

After a slightly subdued reaction to their first number, lead singer Ben Gregory – who, incidentally, has starred in Burberry’s New Faces Campaign – says: “Nottingham, how are you feeling?”

The band – who, ironically, appear far from fashionable and look somewhat unkempt – move up the gears and second track Let’s Pray, the title of the collective’s latest EP and staple song which came out earlier this month, earns the rapport of their onlookers, who whoop and clap in appreciation.

Into the Night is next up followed by Orthodox Man, a song Gregory describes as “a very new one”, and each number is wonderfully mellifluous, eliciting jubilant screams and warm, respectful applause.

Penultimate song I Will Be The World is the highlight, a beautifully refined indie concoction which navigates from sounding somewhat lugubrious and brooding, before shifting to thrashing guitar riffs and into a self-assured, wall-to-wall banger. It is no surprise this was once acclaimed as BBC Radio 1 Single of the Week.

Ending with Prague, an indelibly catchy Maccabees-esque number, Blaenavon find their audience singing along to the chorus at the end of their performance, leaving a lasting impressive and warming up the crowd suitably for the headline act.

With more experience under his belt, Gregory will become more interactive and Blaenavon are an exciting prospect to keep an eye on – just when modern indie was beginning to stagnate and falter, with the loss of the likes of genre-stalwarts The Enemy and The Maccabees in the last 12 months, bands like Blaenavon are needed to give new life to the scene and provide us with something to shout about.

Blaenavon performed at the Rescue Rooms on Thursday 22 September 2016.

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