Heading to Surya, in Kings Cross, London, on Tuesday evening I was already excited to see three bands I knew about, but was pleasantly surprised to discover we’d be treated to two extra bands on top.
The gig kicked off a UK tour headlined by London rockers Nightlife, along with Guildford’s Cavalier – who duly became the first band I’ve seen twice since starting this blog – and Nuneaton-based Never Hill. The trio was joined by south London rockers Our Lives In Cinema and Peterborough pop punk quartet Photo Finish.
The evening began with the lively, energetic sound of Our Lives In Cinema. Their set was fast-paced, with big guitars, funky riffs and lively, almost breathless vocals, as epitomised by I’ve Got This, which is one of a few of tracks available on Soundcloud.
They were followed on stage by Photo Finish, who were a bit more pop punk in style. Their second track was a cover of New Found Glory’s My Friends Over You, which is always a winner for me. Next up, Reality began with a cool high-pitched intro which fed into a big punk rock guitar-led intro and some good old punk verse and chorus, then a Sum 41-esque punky instrumental breakdown.
The band seemed pretty pleased with the fact that this was their first ever (and therefore best) gig on a Tuesday night, while it was also new drummer Jordan’s first gig in London. They slightly randomly played a cover version of what I think was maybe Katie Perry’s The One That Got Away (they mentioned it being a Katie Perry track, and thanks Google), then closed out with their 2016 debut EP Phone Home‘s excellent opening track Roadside.
Photo Finish are a fun punk rock band with good on-stage presence, banter and loads of energy from lead singer Alex and guitarist Pete in particular. They were perhaps a bit light on vocals, because as impressive a frontman as Alex is he could do with a bit more help at times.
Next up was Never Hill, whose lead singer Adam Ross began the show in the front of the crowd with his microphone stand, then ditched the stand after one song but remained in the crowd, telling them “don’t be afraid to move either.” And to be fair there were plenty of people moving and singing along.
They closed out with most recent single Caffeine, which was much more upbeat and quicker than the rest of the set, with cool vocals and fun guitar riffs.
Next up was Cavalier, who had a slight setback when the guitarist’s amp wasn’t working in their soundcheck, which ended up in them slightly unfairly losing one song from their set.
Cavalier are a great live band with loads of energy, and enigmatic lead singer Jamie is highly entertaining – like Never Hill’s Adam joining us in the audience for the majority of the performance. I think they played a lot of new tracks as I didn’t recognise the songs they played but Jamie’s vocals are also excellent, particularly on Sedative, and their penultimate song showed us they can also rock out with the best of them – throwing together big bass, big choruses and ending in a cool solo followed by a big smash of guitar and drums.
But the main event of the evening was London four-piece Nightlife. We met the band before the gig, which we’ll bring you very shortly, and they told us we could expect a heavier sound from their new album, which is out on 24th February.
Listening to them live my initial thought was that they sounded like a heavier version of Placebo, either way they were really impressive live. Second track Purgatory, which is also the second track on the new album, saw a heavy guitar-muted verse, followed by some high notes from lead singer Paul, then a cool linking riff led to the song becoming increasingly heavy.
That was followed up with the excellent lead single off the album, Out Of Your Mind, to which the lady in front of me – which I presume was one of their mums – said: “I like that one, that’s the one isn’t it?” And I agree with her, I liked it too – big guitar chords, great vocals, what’s not to like?
The band’s new heavier sound was confirmed by Salt & Acid, the final track on the album of the same name, which opened up with a cool guitar riff, which drops out briefly only for a huge blast of heavy, overdriven powerchords and all three of the front guys singing in the chorus.
Another highlight was another new song Dilute, which features an awesome double guitar riff-off, while final track Good Intentions opened with a high-pittched punky riff before a chorus of big guitar chords and almost shouty vocals.
Nightlife have clearly come a long way from their earlier pop punk sound, and I’m excited to see what the new album brings us having heard many of the new tracks live.
Nightlife, Cavalier and Never Hill will be continuing their UK tour with gigs at Brighton’s Latest Music Bar tonight, Queens Hall in Nuneaton tomorrow night, and BrewDog in Leicester on Saturday night. Tickets are only £6, so get along to any of those gigs if you can. Tickets are available here.
You can follow Nightlife on Facebook and Twitter, follow Cavalier on , and keep in touch with Never Hill on Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow Photo Finish on Facebook and Twitter and check out Our Lives In Cinema’s music on Soundcloud and follow them on Facebook.