After releasing their critically acclaimed debut album ‘A Dream Outside’ and being catapulted into a multitude of support slots for bands such as Wolf Alice, Alt-J and The Maccabees, it’s about time that Gengahr embarked on a tour with their name at the top of the bill. As fans flock through the North Laine, headed towards the comedy/music venue Komedia, there’s a shared anticipation of how the lads from London will handle their first ever headline show.
Kicking off the evening in style, the band come on stage to the sweeping synths that build the intro for the song Loki taken from their new EP ‘Tired Eyes’. Whereas most bands release flyers or advertise on social media to promote their tour, Gengahr released a secret EP in order to give the fans even more incentive to come down and see them perform live. Naturally the three song long EP is played throughout the show, along with the band’s debut album played in its entirety.
Whilst the large basement of Komedia isn’t completely filled out, the band certainly wouldn’t be able to tell as the crowd have surged to the front, creating a bubble of nodding heads around the stage. As vocalist Felix Bushe clutches the microphone to squeeze out his trademark falsetto lyrics on the track Heroine, it’s glaringly obvious that the band create a truly captivating stage experience. This owes a lot to guitarist John Victor’s antics on stage as he prances back and forth while ripping through searing guitar solos during songs Powder and Where I Lie. As they dance on stage and showboat their various talents, it’s clear this is not a band who are likely to shy away from flamboyance.
Whilst on record the quartet play towards a more indie pop sound, live they are a force to be reckoned with as stabs of noise and distortion blow away any accusations of them being a shoegaze band. This is evident through Victor’s guitar playing as his FX heavy guitar creates a sonic onslaught that carries the band into new, heavier territories. However, despite this the crowd still remains rather tame, more content with awkwardly dancing than any active participation. Whilst occasional outbursts of spontaneous noise do occasionally prompt more lively action from them, for the most part they are quite subdued.
By the time the band come back on for their encore of breakout single She’s a Witch, Bushe, along with the rest of the band, is dripping with sweat. ‘This is going to be our last song…thank you so much, it’s been crazy’ he says, seemingly surprised at the size of the crowd in front of him. The song gets the biggest sing-a-long of the night, loud enough at one point to actually contest with the band. As the last round of applause goes up (the last of many that night) the band promptly leave the stage, assured in the knowledge that they were more than ready to step up to the headline slot. So all things considered, not bad for a band named after a Pokémon.
By Matt Austin