If fashion comes in cycles then so does the desire to embrace trends of the past. Wandering into this converted warehouse in the wilds of the once industrial and now artistically reinvented Hackney Week, you could be mistaken for thinking you had walked into a grimy student venue in the mid-90s. This feeling of reminiscence fits perfectly with the organisers of today’s event – Flying Vinyl, a collective who run a music discovery scheme aimed that reinvigorating a lot of vinyl records but also introducing today’s music fans to new bands via a more creative medium than Spotify.
The one-day festival features a range of up-and-coming bands with the common theme that all have had their music pressed onto wax and distributed to Flying Vinyl’s music connoisseurs. If the crowd are anything to go by, vinyl’s renaissance is certainly finding its place with a younger audience – or perhaps they are here, just like State, to catch tonight’s top double bill of Birmingham trippy psych-poppers Swim Deep and gritty indie rock group Black Honey.
Brighton-based Black Honey wear their influences on their sleeves and call to mind so many other bands, it’s almost hard to name them all. My Bloody Valentine in parts with the occasional foray into Lush-esque shoegaze, Black Honey’s powerful rock ‘n’ roll can tend towards derivative but captivating frontwoman Izzy B Phillips has enough charisma to help the band stand apart. There’s a girlish petulance in her voice that calls to mind 90s-era Gwen Stefani but without the ska-influenced musical backdrop. No, this band are about reverb and heavy guitars, chaotic, sweaty rock.
The crowd loves it, singing along to tracks like ‘Corrine’, Phillips’ ode to a missed friend, and spiralling into a mosh pit down the front. We don’t like to admit it because it should go without saying but damn isn’t it good to see a female indie musician rocking out and creating such a stir? Could this be this generation’s Justine Frischmann or Shirley Manson? From tonight’s show, Black Honey certainly have the potential to go further.
Headlining the evening are the hard-to-pin-down Swim Deep, a five-piece whose latest album replaced the straightforward indie pop of their debut with an effort that sounded like it had been produced on a lot of acid. On stage tonight, the Brummie boys look like they’re in control of their faculties but the set certainly has a weird, psychedelic transcendence to it. Opening with ‘Forever Spacemen’, a track that builds to a powerful celestial crescendo before breaking down, there’s a feeling almost that they’re doing it all backwards – shouldn’t that be the finale? – but it works, if only because the crowd are watching in awe.
It’s a cluster of genres – some Manchester baggy here, a little retro dream pop there – and if it doesn’t all sit well with State then we’re certainly in the minority. There’s barely a song that the enthusiastic crowd doesn’t know the words to and when they finish with the bonkers freakout ‘Fueiho Boogie’, it’s hard not to be a little bit impressed.