Having played gigs and festivals up and down the UK, it comes as some surprise that Clean Cut Kid have only just got around to releasing their first album. Granted, there are only a handful of songs from their debut Felt that hadn’t already been released in some form or another, but we’ll forgive them for that. They’ve been touring fairly relentlessly for the last year and a half, and this album has been a long time coming.
This Birmingham show was not only the first of Clean Cut Kid’s headline tour, but also the first since their album came out. Fans had just one day to familiarise themselves with the new material, so maybe it was for the best that there wasn’t much of it.
Opening the night was TRASH, indie dream-pop four piece from Chesterfield who warmed the crowd with anthemic choruses and catchy hooks. Their sound is awash with reverb and a sense of nostalgia; the musical equivalent of a Polaroid picture in these days of selfies and Snapchat filters.
Up next is Get Inuit, a band who could easily have headlined this show themselves. Whether or not you’ve heard their unique brand of gritty guitar pop music before, their live performance will grab your attention and refuse to let go. With a frontman as eccentric and uncompromisingly charismatic as Jamie Glass, who came on stage wearing lipstick and left with a Hawaiian lei, you know you’re in for an entertaining show.
Get Inuit set a leading example with their onstage banter, joking with the crowd and just generally having fun. Standout tracks include ‘Barbiturates’, ‘Teriyaki’ and the recently released ‘All My Friends’, which paints a picture of the Millennial who refuses to grow up and mourns the loss of friends who married young and got mortgages. With a couple of EPs and several singles under their belts, their debut album can’t come soon enough.
Clean Cut Kid hit the stage and burst straight into their roaring single ‘Pick Me Up’, getting the crowd singing and shouting along from the off. The benefit of having released all those singles before the album dropped is that the crowd already have favourite songs they can get into and join in with, but even when it came to the lesser-known tracks from Felt, there were people who knew every word. Through constant touring and festival appearances they’ve built up quite a fanbase, which can only grow now they they have an album out.
The slight let-down of the evening was that the venue felt a bit too small for Clean Cut Kid; having seen them perform at Glastonbury and Latitude, they’ve proven that they’re capable of drawing a big crowd and creating a great atmosphere. Unfortunately, in this small room in Birmingham, it wasn’t quite there. It’s through no fault of the band, who put on an excellent performance, but perhaps they would have been more at home in a bigger room. Obviously, it’s all down to booking agents and ticket sales, but hopefully these guys will be back soon to put on the show the crowd deserves.
However, with festival season on the horizon, Clean Cut Kid are just warming up. They’re about to hit their stride. Songs like ‘We Used To Be In Love’, ‘Make Believe’ and set-closer ‘Vitamin C’ are the kind of catchy crowd pleasers that will go down well with both old fans and first-timers. Their vintage pop-rock aesthetic is one that’s easy to get on board with, and with the recent success of similar bands taking off and achieving global fame, it’s easy to see Clean Cut Kid reaching those heights in the not too distant future.
Photos by Dan Hess.