It’s been a while since this writer has seen a sweaty basement show; with the commercialisation of venues, it seems that small capacity basement shows are becoming harder to come by in this day and age. Despite the stacked line-up for this particular stop of Dads UK tour, Hey Joni and Sleepers were sadly just missed due to work constraints but are truly worth checking out.
It’s been a whirlwind year for Nai Harvest, alongside constant touring, the duo began this year with the release of their debut album Whatever which solidified their place as one of the best breakthrough emo bands to come out of the UK. Opening up their set with the two tracks that form their upcoming 7″ due out next year, the songs harness a grittier sound better suited for a live show.
Introducing ‘Twin Tweaks’, frontman Ben Thompson talks of his love for the show Twin Peaks and declares “When you get home, don’t wank. Just watch Twin Peaks all the way through”. The song sees some of the first crowdsurfs of the night and really limbers up the crowd ready for Dads. With Thompson apologising for his broken fuzz pedal, the title track from their debut album, ‘Whatever’ still compresses the raw emotion and blistering drums in the track.
Dads take to the stage, nearing the end of their first UK headline tour it seems like it’s been nothing but a success with the room tonight getting more and more claustrophobic as the night goes on. Opening up with a cover of Wilco’s ‘At Least That’s What You Said’, the band add their own unique noodly guitars and thundering drums to put their twist on a simple indie song. The slow and dreamy ‘No We’re Not Actually’ seems like a strange inclusion in the bands setlist midway through their set, with drummer John Bradley saying “I wrote this song about being on a cloud” before quickly retracting that. The songs slow build really hits hard when it eventually breaks out with the crowd screaming back “Because I can’t bear to see him like this again”.
Drummer/vocalist John Bradley’s banter in between songs is hilariously dry. Responding to Nai Harvest’s prior remarks about Twin Peaks, Bradley goes on a rant about how Twin Peaks gets a bit boring towards the end and how everyone should watch Fringe instead before declaring that ‘My Crass Patch’ “Was written about Fringe before I knew Fringe even existed, that’s a time travel joke. You’d get that if you watched Fringe”. With erupting post-rock drums, ‘My Crass Patch’, the opening song taken from the band’s Pretty Good EP, really fits a live environment and is a complete juxtaposition from the twinkly guitars heard in the earlier material.
Speaking of earlier material, songs from the band’s last LP American Radass (this is important) feel a lot more refined in terms of the performance with quiet guitarist Scott Scharinger taking lead vocal duties on ‘Get to the Beach’. The song gathers a huge crowd together screaming every lyric as loud as they possibly can, especially during the bridge with each member of the audience singing back “A permanent bee sting in my throat”. Concluding their concise set with ‘Shit Twins’, with fewer than 10 tracks played on the night, the band still managed to fill their 45 minute slot with hilarious banter and awesome transitions between songs, fingers crossed that they come back sooner rather than later.