White Room @ The Magnet
After interviewing 2/5 of Brighton band White Room earlier that day (and then partaking in half of The Font‘s very famous pub quiz) Molly Moe and I headed back towards my favourite underground venue, The Magnet, to see where the night would take us.
Having sadly missed Deja Vega‘s set, we had made it just in time to see Liverpool three piece TV ME take to the stage. Having seen them before as a support act to Flyte, I knew they would bring their unique style and energy to the dimly lit venue. Peppercorn Boy, the group’s first single, saw frontman Thomas McConnell‘s echoing vocals escape in between their almost otherworldly instrumental solos, once again confirming to me the originality of the band. The upbeat and almost Scissor Sisters-esque Space Geno displayed their talent and the futuristic and space-y genre that they have adopted. The mixture of radio and television broadcasts between songs keeps a constant flow of sound in the room, and with a laid-back style, and original take on the set up of a band, TV Me are an enjoyable watch. Playing a range of songs I had not heard before, and swapping between the guitars, synths and keyboards on stage with them throughout their set, I will be interested to see what this group release next!
Following this, Sugarmen brought a more indie rock vibe to the room. Having released a well received debut album earlier this year, which Ellipsis described as being ‘a very impressive foundation for them to build upon’, I was interested to see the band for myself. From the start, they attracted the attention of the room, drawing in an audience away from the bar. Performing tune after tune, they embodied the liveliness which most young bands have today. Fast paced songs such as Sold were well received, however; despite all this positive attention, the end of the set brought a shock with frontman Chay Heney announcing ‘We’re Sugarmen, and that was our last ever gig.’ The band’s split may have happened due to personal and musical reasons, but despite all this, their debut album remains to be a solid start of what could have been a long career within music.
Opening with The Blue, White Room instantly set the bar for what would be a slick and faultless performance. From the harmonies between frontman Jake Smallwood and bassist Josie McNamara, to the 60s-esque guitar riffs, its not a surprise that this song is one of the band’s favourites. Despite minor setbacks such as a lower than expected turnout, White Room gave it their all, performing with the vigour and passion of a sell out show. For a group on their debut headline tour, they went above and beyond what you would expect, showing how the talent of bands today is forever rising.
Touring on the release of their new double EP Eight, White Room dedicated their set to playing it in its entirety, whilst also throwing in a few oldies at the end. To hear the EP played fully before its official release was something that felt very intimate, and since the band had slowly been releasing it track by track, it was captivating to see it performed live. Seeing the support bands of the night, TV ME and Sugarmen, in the crowd for White Room‘s set, just as White Room had done for them, made everything feel a bit more special and chilled out.
Stole The I.V., track 3 on the EP, remains one of my favourite songs to date, with the energy of Jake Smallwood’s performance only added to this. Stomping around the stage and becoming completely engrossed in the music and also the lyrics he was singing, Smallwood gave it his complete and utter all. Comedic and rocky Cannibal Song, with its dark lyrics and heavy tone was another stand out track of the night, with Smallwood leaning at the edge of the stage into the crowd.
As the projector behind them continued to project cartoon patterns and shapes, the band rocked through track after track, hardly stopping in-between. Cable-Built Dreamland touches on relevant topics of today with Jake having commented in past interviews that it is about “people’s narcissistic obsession with how they are perceived online; the mask they create behind which they disguise their true selves.” From start to finish Eight is almost a form of escapism, a truly captivating listen that the 5 piece psychedelic rockers should be proud of. Ending their set with older track Think Too Much you can see how the band have expanded in only a year, and with 2018 just around the corner who knows what White Room will achieve next.
Listen to White Room‘s double EP Eight here