Lee Jeans Present… Theme Park

Free Christmas gig

A full, and importantly free, venue was complimented by a full, and importantly free, bar and immediately I knew Lee Jeans were a brand I could hold close to my heart. All we needed now was subtle purple mood lighting and some music, which came from opening DJ: Jake McGowan aka Feeding Time. His grooves were smoother than clotted cream, massaging the early birds right on their beaks with lost pop amidst a soulfully wholesome set. He managed to allure to Christmas without ever dropping Shakin’ Stevens and tossing his cap in the air.

Then, along came Theme Park, with their faces all bald and gleaming, clad in fresh denim. A five piece that clearly sack off sex appeal for an undeniable need to be mothered. Each one: young, adorable and with the expression of bemused abandon that suggests they may have misplaced their packed lunches. Yet, at a point in their fledgling adulthood where they should still be sounding raw, untamed and essentially unorganised, they’re managing shrewd and measured tropical pop numbers that never despair too much to achieve their desires.

A cartoon pink elephant stood in the corner of the room, with the phrase “they sound like Talking Heads” daubed across it’s side in thick black paint. But so what? Few dislike Talking Heads. In fact, many who have heard no more than thirty seconds of Tom Jones’ and The Cardigans’ take on ‘Burning Down The House’, will often profess themselves as Talking Heads fans. People like the idea of being Talking Heads fans. Ergo, Theme Park are destined for success.

It isn’t all due to derivation, it’s hugely down to the pleasantly addictive nature of their own balmy funk-rock sound. The set built around the peak of their Luv Luv Luv released single ‘Milk’, but that wasn’t to say the surrounding numbers lacked. ‘Jamaica’ is as charmingly Caribbean as it suggests, complimented visually by the synchronised swing of the three guitarists, and the jangling melody of ‘Two Hours’ was potent. A short but sweet performance closed at the thirty minute mark, a set that never overstayed it’s welcome, and was never in danger of doing so.

Mim of Black Cab Sessions arrived stage left, as Theme Park departed stage right, to begin the DJ set that would close the party, and drain the bar. Known nationwide now, for setting up iconic acoustic sessions in the back of a London cab with artists as unobtainable as The Flaming Lips and Feist, it was immediately clear that his song selection wouldn’t be lacking. One timely blast of Azealia Banks’ ‘212’ later, and our wishes were his Traktor-enabled command. It’s a common truth; Joe Public doesn’t dance at instores. Tonight at Lee Jeans, suggested he doesn’t mind showrooms.

Words by Luke Wharf
Photo by Marc Sethi

View a full photo gallery from the gig HERE.

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