Blaenavon / The Night Cafe / Plaza - The Wardrobe - 21/11/17
“You don’t get lineups like this anymore” belches a drunken teenager from the urinal across from me. Whilst at first my skin does crawl he does have a point, recent years have been fairly stagnant in terms of ‘indie’ tours. We’ve seen the emergence of south-london's scene but to tar Shame etc with the same brush would be a poor shout. The venue itself is taking i.d from people at the door now due to “a fucking ton of 15/16 year old girls” as one of the bar staff tells me now looking devoid of all human emotion.
The night is kicked off with Hartlepool four-piece Plaza, who swagger through a set of grunge pop bangers! Frontman Bradley Lennard is by no means shy and is more than happy to get down at the barrier, where he is greeted by adoring fans.
The Night Cafe follow and are again flying the flag for the indie scene Liverpool has to offer! You’d have thought this was their headline gig as limbs flailed and hugs were had to tracks such as Addicted. For a band so young it could be dangerous already seeing them as the next Circa Waves or Catfish & The Bottlemen, however they had the crowd in the palm of their hand throughout.
With the supports personally leaving a little bit to offer Blaenavon took to the stage to Madonna’s Like A Prayer. When the 90’s pop banger was faded out there were admittedly a few boos however once the three piece kicked off their set with Hell Is My Head all was forgiven. From the off the band are oozing with confidence, bassist Frank Wright plays as though he were in a heavy metal band and leans rather precariously between the stage and the barrier! Throughout the band seem in excellent spirits, frontman Ben Gregory jokes when bassist Frank Wright messes up the intro by saying “When your bassist doesn’t even read the setlist”. Drummer Harris McMillan ties the wild three piece together with a rhythm that the band would be completely searching for something without. In a band of such big characters it would be easy to just get lost however Harris does enough to be the glue sealing them all together. The set sees the band debut a new song and also play That’s Your Lot, title track of their debut album for the first time.
Closing their set with Prague, a song from their first ep, released on their album as Prague 99, It’s a perfect set closer and builds slowly before exploding. The closer sees frontman Ben lifted into the crowd and surfing his way right from the back to the front of the crowd. The band leave the stage knowing they’ve given everything and in return the lucky 200 or so did too. This is a night neither will be quick to forget.