Having premiered the AFFAIRS ‘Stained Gold’ EP earlier in the week we made sure we were in the building for a sweaty Friday night frolicking to new music at The Old Blue Last. Promoters, Disorder London have put on a great bill again tonight but we are here for the opening act.
Formed in Hull and now residing in Manchester, hotly tipped and making their inaugural trip to London on one of the hottest days of the year so far tonight is a big night for AFFAIRS. Making the 400 mile round trip down the motorway to an awaiting London crowd is a milestone for any band. Timing it right is key and many out of town great acts have fallen foul of undertaking the 3 hr van journey too early and then returning spirits dampened by a poor turn out. They have timed tonights slot to perfection. Hot on the heels of Steve Lamacq and John Kennedy radio plays and with support slots with Alt-J and Circa Waves under their belt tonight feels like a moment.
Opening their set with ‘Runaway’ there is something Future Islands reminiscent of lead singer James Robinson's stage presence. He is cutting all sorts of shapes and angles whilst pushing out a top line vocal with ethereal quality from the offset. Parallels vocally perhaps could be drawn to Hayden Thorpe of Wild Beasts but the fleeting thought passes as quickly as it lands as they very much have their own unique northern charm.
Latest single ‘Play’ sounds crisp with the big floor tom rolls and soaring crescendo’s. “If you wan’t it all – then you got it… if you want it enough”. The conviction in delivery makes us think these boys really do want this and the stage craft on display is testament to that conviction having clearly put the hours in refining their stage performance. Debuting new song ‘Gracious World’ straight into another new four to the floor slice of new material with soaring balearic synth line to match. Everyone is dancing as “You’re in my head it burns” echoes around us. The songs and new material sounding as at home in Fac 151, Manchester as they would on the White Isle at sunset.
'Out Of The Deep' and the wall of guitars stacked are impressive – that guitar riff live cuts through. It feels like the songwriting and anthemic sound fit with the bands journey down to London tonight. The sound of warehouses, sparce metropolitan landscapes, love lost, service stations, expectancy and nervous tension exhibited in the flesh in every one of James' jerky movements on stage. Rounding off the set with ‘Brothers’ a Clash favourite from the EP with surging incessant drums and big swooping vocal line tugging at your heart strings. By this point the crowd are in pocket. No easy feat on a hot Friday night in London with a host of other options for punters to attend. Tonight was a commanding debut and stage performance to match the buzz around the band. Anthemic chorus lines, big stabbing surging drums and tight stage show. Wilful and joyful abandon on stage from the band. AFFAIRS are the perfect accompaniment to start a Friday night and weekend as you mean it to continue.
Joining the audience for the final encore this was a triumphant debut show to a packed out sweaty Old Blue Last at early doors. Ballsy and fearless with live execution that comes from hours together forming a tight unit of brothers. Job well done and a hard act to follow tonight, anyone on stage after them has their work cut out.
Listen to the 'Stained Gold' EP now: