Written by Harley Cassidy
The Big Moon have always been a band that could probably lead a seminar on the joys of optimism. With a fearless heart and a youthful indulgence, they instil a deeply hedonistic satisfaction in their fanbase which is projected from their own defiant intention to enjoy themselves too. Last year, they were shortlisted for a Mercury prize, released a stellar debut in the shape of ‘Love in the 4th Dimension’ a paean to, you got it, being completely and utterly head over heels in love, and reached the pinnacle of indie band stardom by securing a primetime slot on Sunday Brunch. As cuts from their album soar and swell within 100 Club’s iconic yet cramped parameters, it is the live venue where they’re truly in their element.
Initially, not much can be unearthed from first support, Woom. With something of a quiet presence online, it’s hard to discern what their music sounds like; what can be discovered is that the band belong to no particular genre and instead offer an experience more than a simple show. As a collective, they stand stock still on stage, picking through a diverse back catalogue including Outkast’s ‘Prototype’ and Bjork’s ‘Venus As A Boy’, drenching it in a saccharine glaze of beautiful harmonies to make it their own. Their art is ultimately in the charm of their voices.
They’re followed by poet, Georgie Jesson, who cuts a strong and angular figure onstage. Flipping through a frequented notebook and swigging from a bottle of Corona, Jesson has confidence in abundance and is clearly well-versed in the art of the English language. Her brother, Chilli, sits solemnly in the corner, picking his way through a selection of subtle, downbeat melodies that compliment her rich, witty and honest perspective on politics and societal behaviour. She drops astute anecdotes with aplomb whether it’s in verse (‘I’ll remind people to vote with a Corbyn quote’) or in-between readings (‘This is about a lover. I feel like I can use that word, now I’m 21, you know?’) but for all her spikiness, there is a vulnerability that makes the whole experience very endearing.
The sets are meshed together by everyone’s favourite Welsh DJ, Katie Owen, who runs a strong, steady stream of soul, new wave, classic indie and her trademark; Quincy Jones’ ‘Bossanova’ (or ‘that song from Austin Powers’, to the majority of us).
The 100 Club is filled with dancing bodies as Girl Ray take to the stage. In most ways, Girl Ray are the perfect precursor for The Big Moon. The droll insouciance paired with the joyful, light harmonies, the ability to be so brilliantly introspective - it’s all factored in tonight. Girl Ray breach heavenly pop music like pros, so evocative is the production of their music and the way every individual owns their instrument, it feels like you’re in a snapshot from the cassette friendly days of C86-era indie. Last year’s debut, Earl Grey, fills the 100 Club with a warmth that can only be issued from Poppy Hankin’s gooey, sweet-but-sour vocals and their talent at honing in on their brutal honesty. As we know, honesty in music, deep, brutally, open honesty, always makes for a great pop song and as the off-kilter lilt of Trouble begins, it’s hard not to warm to its sardonic company.
Fervour is high for The Big Moon’s ascent on to the stage. The band’s fanbase feed hungrily and happily from their hands and it’s mainly because they address all the tribulations that young men and women seem to go through. Instead of dwelling on life’s hardships and awkward adolescence they offer a break from being your own worst enemy. Well, for 60 minutes, at least.
Frontwoman, Julia, has a voyeur’s eye for detail: her crooked lyrics recalling both Elastica’s cool sexuality and the wry wit of young Alex Turner. She introduces one song by saying, ‘I think this one is about masturbating but I can’t remember’, met by approving cheers from the crowd. Cupid is the dazzling, hook-driven morsel they have been waiting for, whilst the excellent Formidable bounds along, all angular guitar lines and cool demeanour.
There’s something really quite joyous about watching something pure, that has organically derived from a bedroom and a big idea, manifest onstage. Everyone is dancing but no one is having as much fun as The Big Moon as they throw their hair around and shout and sweat and play like the biggest fans in the room. They also bust out a cover of potentially the biggest ballad of the 80s, Total Eclipse of The Heart, like it’s no biggie. Tonight sees them swell and surge as one, thriving off their natural sense of camaraderie; the only bad thing about the set is that it ends.
As The Coral’s ‘Dreaming Of You’ punctuates the room courtesy of Katie Owen, the revellers keep on dancing in to the night, riding a high from a truly solid evening of jubilance.