Gig Review by Kirsty Hillyer with Photography by Edward Taylor

Moose Blood

It’s early doors thanks to Moose Blood’s commitment to promoting new British bands and the over 14s audience which sees parents propping up the bar. Opener Dead End Dreams pander to the pop punk sensibilities of the teen crowd who are ready to release first week back at school anxiety and uniformity. Lyrically their narrative is lacking in the catchy hook or deeper emotional resonance but musically you can’t deny that they are a talented bunch of lads with room to develop. Offering free EPs to anyone who chats to them and calls for a mosh pit, they are a band that’s well rehearsed and hold their own as an opener.

Moose Blood

Venn Records signing The Muskets were the surprise of the night. Cheerily air drumming and playing along to Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American during changeover, their balls out noise making is a waking contrast as they open by thrashing their instruments straight into their first song.

This new resurgence in a British Grunge sound sees these guys go to the top of my list for anyone to check out. The pop-punk dreamy teens didn’t quite know how to take to the impassioned, down tuned numbers; blending shoe gaze tweeness with ‘Surf Wax America’ era Weezer poppiness into dirty, unrelenting grunge dirge they made me wake up and take notice.  With no room for applause between the first few songs these boys are determined to make an impact and are hungry for success. These Brighton boys deserve your attention. They have mine.

Moose Blood

There is a smattering of Creeper fans out to see these Southampton lads. Having heard their name touted about for the last few months I wish I had stayed in my Schrödinger’s cat paradox of ignorance and hope regarding their potential. Despite the name and the large reaper logo I had missed the Goth memo; even when their intro music was ‘Cry Little Sister’ the tittle track from The Lost Boys, the brain hadn’t twigged. My enjoyment of possibly being the only person in the room to know that track was short lived. Promoting their merch to its fullest as it adorns their bodies, the big patch band uniform and stage bravado ooze an affectedness born of ego and capitalism over authenticity. Cue Sina Nemati the bored guitarist, bassist Sean Scott’s underused vocals and a Will Gould, the lead singer whose spent too long mimicking to forge his own style. Like a lot of British vocalists Will waivers from American, Davy Havok intonations to his authentic British accent.

Moose Blood

Dedicating track ‘Blue’ to Moose Blood and ‘Lie Awake’ a Bad Religion rip off; the best I can say about them is that they put on a show; it may just make you laugh. At the rate they are working and booking tours I’m sure they will successfully fill the teen black hole and niche of My Chemical Romance in young British Hearts.

Despite another tour on the cards this will be last Moose Blood show of the year and it feels right for it to be at the Kasbah as the first time I reviewed them was supporting Mallory Knox here at the end of last year. These boys have certainly worked their arses off after going from support slots to a few headline tours and a slot at Warped Tour.

The hard touring lifestyle shows not only in their confidence and performance but also in the broad following they have gained. The onstage fairy lights and smoke set the ambience for a good old Dashboard Confessional mass sing along about love. You may wonder what I could possibly write about these guys after 4/5 shows with pretty much the same setlist. This tour promised to be different with the much loved fan favourite of ‘Kelly Kapowski’ being added to the roster.

Moose Blood

Opening with just Eddie and Mark playing ‘Cherry’ it felt like this song carried more weight than normal. As the rest of the band joined them they went into ‘Anyway’ which cued the crowd to sign the lines over Eddy, as one of my favourite songs the intent within the song hangs within the one line that was sadly handed over to the crowd. Thankfully the recorded version never fails to deliver that goosebump reflection and the guitars in ‘Bukowski’ get me every time. Aside from the acoustic opener and the inclusion of Kelly Kapowski as the penultimate track the set list waivered little from the last year. It seems the Midlands are doomed to never be played ‘Carbis Bay’, and with a short back catalogue the full discography wouldn’t be too much to ask of a headline slot.

Moose Blood

So how was it finally hearing ‘Kelly Kapowski’, was it worth the weight, just to hear that drop live? Yes it was. These lads are nothing if not polite, professional and full of exuberance at hearing a room full of people sings their songs back at them. Ending with ‘I Hope You’re Miserable’ the stretch of Eddy’s voice is lost over the crowd’s. When I watch Moose Blood now I ache for a delivery I’m not yet sure they’ve reached as artists. Nina Simone sums up what I yearn for perfectly when talking about her own performing:

‘What I was interested in was conveying an emotional message. Which means using everything you’ve got inside you sometimes to barely make a note, or if you, to strain to sing – you sing. So sometimes I sound like gravel and sometimes I sound like coffee and cream.’

With the confidence they’ve lost some of that vulnerability and earnestness in the delivery of much loved songs. Very few artists manage that emotional balance, if only Jonah Matranga offered lessons, he knows what Nina is on about.

Moose Blood

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