Arriving at Stereo, the room was already filled with people cramming together in the small space. John J Presley opened the night through a billow of smoke which was well suited to his deep and rumbling voice. With a resonance of Royal Blood and Jack White, the performance was humble yet confident. His presence felt effortlessly bold amidst the heavy guitar and thundering drums that trembled through the air.
One element that I really enjoy about seeing a band who have been releasing music for almost a decade is the diverse crowd that they bring together. Blood Red Shoes began with some songs from their newest album, Get Tragic and I craned my neck to catch a glimpse of the band staring intently into the crowd over a tall man with blue spikes adorning his head and a group of enthusiastic teenagers jumping around in front of me for the whole set. The room was receptive, almost patient to hear well-loved songs from previous albums. The band’s latest release had only been available for a week so it is understandable that it didn’t feel like the set had really begun until they dug out some of their older songs from one of their four other albums.
The duo moved away from their newfound electronic edge and pulled the whole crowd together with their older material. During ‘I Wish I Was Someone Better’, I looked around and almost every single person in the now stifling room was singing while the band beamed back. ‘An Animal’ introduced Laura-May’s ceaseless hair spins while Steven’s intense drumming accompanied his singing. Throughout the set, Blood Red Shoes muddled through some technical issues and Steven managed to break two of his own snare drums as well as John J Presley’s, but overall, they captivated the room with their enthusiasm and the accompanying green glow than emanated from the stage.
[Tabitha Tinkler-Ferguson – @tabithatf]