Live Reviews

Eagulls live at the Scala

eagulls_scala (2)Eagulls / Bad Breeding

Words: Tim Lewis
Photo credit: John McNicholas / Camilla Morelli

My introduction to Eagulls was probably unlike most people’s. I was at a show in a youth club in Guildford (The wonderful GYC) back in 2010 watching Fast Point, who had a peculiar looking tape on their merch table. Apparently this was some of the members’ new “indie band” and they were called Eagulls. With little interest in indie at the time, and the idea in my head that Eagulls was a terrible name for a band, I didn’t take much notice. Four years on from this encounter, Eagulls are performing on the Letterman show and have released one of the best debut albums of the year. With this London date being their last time in the capital of 2014, anticipation was high.

Before Eagulls take to the stage, Stevenage’s Bad Breeding are up. From the first song, comparisons to the headliners could be made but this punked version of indie is much more frenzied than Eagulls. Scuzzy, frantic riffs cascade down onto vocals that are soaked in as much reverb as you’re ever likely to hear, and at times they remind of a less avant-garde No Form (Listen to No Form) with odd audio clips playing between tracks to create an unusual atmosphere which feels a little unsure of itself. As the set reaches its climax and half an hour has passed, Bad Breeding’s material begins to sound rather alike. Tonight marks a reasonably impressive outing for four piece, but perhaps a shorter set next time.

eagulls_scala Rounding off the evening are Leeds’ own. Their sound is very much influenced by the punk bands of the 80s with a touch of new wave and really, Eagulls’ music may be the best of its kind since that decade too. It’s a rare thing for a band to enjoy misery so much, though tonight’s youthful crowd are unphased by the gloom and proceed to cause the kind of ruckus one may have witnessed at an early Stone roses gig.

The Stone Roses serve as good comparison too, John Squire-esque riffs fill the room as tracks like ‘Nerve Endings’ and ‘Opaque’ rain down. Fortunately these comparisons do not reach to the vocals, frontman George Mitchell’s tones have far more in common with Robert Smith’s most furious moments than Ian Brown’s most horrific.

It seems odd that a band who write such desperate and bitter music have white balloons dropped from the rafters onto the baying audience as though this was a Katy Perry concert but really, it just improves the atmosphere as they are tossed throughout the venue. The band close on their best effort yet, ‘Possessed’, and pandemonium ensues. It’s a strong ending to a strong performance, but it’s not quite Stone Roses at Heaton Park just yet.