The Verse’s Nanette Hewitt reviews indie-pop group Blaenavon’s sold-out gig at Brighton’s Komedia on the 24th March.
If you are considering how you would go about pronouncing Blaenavon- it’s bline-av-un. The band oddly said it was like saying Bryan Adams at which point a member of the audience requested a rendition of The Summer of 69.
Blaenavon consists of three Hampshire-born guys: Ben Gregory (vocals and guitar), Frank Wight (bass) and Harris McMillan (drums). Their gig at the Komedia marked the beginning of their first headline tour with their debut album That’s your Lot to be shortly released on April 7.
I have never seen the Komedia studio so packed. The gig had sold out and queues were forming just to get people into the venue. The band have been on an international tour supporting the very successful Two Door Cinema Club and there were definitely a few fans in the crowd who knew every lyric. Clearly enjoying their spell on the stage, they were drinking up every second of their time in the spotlight. The crowd were buzzing and dancing as Blaenavon took full possession of the room. Ben Gregory had an intoxicating presence with his long dark hair that he whipped around as he pushed his guitar to its limits.
Now for a quick back-track to the supporting, Brighton based band, FUR. Who like Blaenavon were youthful but have a wavier, chilled out, melodic sound but still embodied and driven by guitars. Highlights of their set included Creature and One and Twenty.
In some ways Blaenavon have a harrowing sound full of echoes and skin-tingling notes. Their lyrics can be dark, but the performance and musical sound are so full of energy and life. It’s hard to decide if they fit into the same genre as their tour buddies Two Door Cinema Club and other bands like Bombay Bicycle Club. Personally, I think they have a rockier, emotive edge. If you like Blaenavon you should perhaps check out Dantevilles.
Orthodox Man was without a doubt my favourite track performed. It’s both creepy but addictive and I could listen to it again and again. Alice Come Home is an interesting song, its slow and poetic in parts then builds up into epic guitar-thrashing instrumentals. A journey within a beautiful song. My Bark is your Bite was another great one that you couldn’t resist dancing to. Prague a track off their debut EP Koso which they recorded in 2013, whilst studying for their GCSES’s unbelievably, is noticeably raw in comparison to the others they performed and has themes of death which also appears in Let’s Pray.
Overall a night of talent. It was incredible to see two great emerging bands with lots of passion for their music. I’m excited to see how Blaenavon continue to develop into their sound and will be the first to grab a copy of their album when it releases.
Blaenavon continue their debut tour across the UK and release their debut album That’s your Lot on April 7.