Gig Review by Kirsty Hillyer with Photography by Steve Kilmister

Moose Blood

It is with a sense of bittersweet goodbye that I write this, for I fear I may never attend a Moose Blood show again, but I’ll get to that later.

Boston Manor opens the show and the sound blows the audience away, with drums too high in the mix and a bass felt throughout the body. Thankfully, it’s all resolved by the second song and I can actually begin to hear and appreciate the vocals. These guys are predictably enjoyable. They are the UK’s answer to Set Your Goals during a ’94 era Fat Wreck roster. The crowd nod appreciatively as everyone has to first slowly defrost from the slow crawl into the venue.

Boston Manor

As they blast through their set, with chilly weather fighting gusto, they get increasingly heavier, with riffs reminiscent of Boys Night Out and vocals akin to Pulley. The singer pulls me in with his tough guy posturing as his dance moves swing between 90’s indie fist waving and hardcore thumping. Looking too young and innocent for the tough exterior he portrays just makes me want to placate him with kindness and pat him on the head.

Choir Vandals

Choir Vandals

Choir Vandals are from Missouri and I fear they will be popular for those that lean toward the Kings of Leon ilk of indie rock. The walking baselines and Caleb Followilll vocal style just rules me out from the off, however they did open with an impact thanks to a building opener and backs to the crowd. They only allow room for applause twice as they rattle through their set.  Certainly a band to watch if you like slurred growls and US indie. Very polished, accompanied with Joy Division-esque awkwardness.

Moose BloodMoose Blood

Opening with ‘Pups’, Moose Blood are greeted with a crowd that start bouncing instantly as singer Eddie asks for us all to “have some fun” in that super polite way of his. Eddie’s vocals sound ballsier tonight. I am unable to decide whether that is a reflection upon being the headline band and the type of crowd on this tour, or just a sign of a voice that’s fucked from all the touring.

Moose Blood

Moose Blood

I was already prepared for disappointment tonight having seen the set lists from the tour to date. As their first proper headline tour I was hoping for a longer set than their support slot offerings. Sadly this is barely true. With probably an hours worth of material in total I don’t feel it was unreasonable to hope that on this first decent headline tour we might just get to hear all of their offerings live. Tonight we were treated to a measly 11-song set despite there being another 30 minutes to go before curfew. Admittedly only a few dates on the tour got a magical 12 or even 13 songs, but when you only have 18 songs in total and you refuse the crowds chants for ‘Kelly Kapowski’ you might see why the crowd may be a smidge disappointed despite their politeness and awe at their love for your music. These chants continued post the set as everyone hoped for an encore that never came.

Moose Blood

The level of sing-a-long from the crowd during ‘Chin Up’ makes me wonder if Eddie may start to cry in disbelief at the response form the crowd.bThe sing-alongs continue through ‘Swim Down’ and fan favourite ‘Bukowski’ that sees the crowd surfing commence. The first time I saw these guys play was supporting ‘I Am The Avalanche’ a year ago now and their shy awkwardness as they opened the show to a heavy hitting bill compared to joy and confidence in performing is exponential.  I had been hoping to hear ‘Carbis Bay’ tonight which I know had been played on another date, instead we got ‘Evening Coffee’ as the set deviation which had been demanded by the audience in London.

Moose Blood

When actual lighters get lit and waved in the air for ‘Cherry’ I silently weep to myself for their future shows I will want to attend but fear I won’t be able to bring myself to. Having watched the show through phones in the air and short arses on friends shoulders, as well as my pet hate of finger pointing, I finally relinquish my crush for this band and hand it over to the kids.

Moose Blood

Closing the set with ‘Boston’ sees the Choir Vandals stage dive and join the crowd. I’ve never pegged emo for such raucousness and it makes me long for the days of rucksacks and their first show, where I could hear every word sung and not through the haze of a crowd chorus.

Moose Blood

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