The young and beautiful of London town are gathered in to see a four band bill of the up and the coming. Recent blog exposure means the bulk of the crowd at the Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen are here for hotly tipped Theme Park but State is more interested in the return of The Cast of Cheers from writing and recording hibernation in the depths of the East End. They certainly have confidence in their new material, playing only two tracks from their debut Chariot. On listening to the unfamiliar this comes as neither a surprise or a problem. They immediately impress with the sublime ‘Trucks At Night’, a barrage of blasted beats, technical guitar skills and John Higgins’ powerful basslines driving the songs like, well, a truck at night. Conor Adams’ vocals are more frantic and urgent, giving at times the feeling of hearing a political manifesto as much as a pop song – something that they’ve managed to achieve with new single ‘Family’ and the well received ‘Human Elevator’, songs that one could well imagine being staples of BBC radios 1 and 6.
Comparisons with Foals are inevitable, given gifted technical musicianship and an ability to write a catchy hook are talents that rarely meld. Like the Oxford band, The Cast of Cheers combine both to devastating effect. All of that without yet mentioning a charming onstage confidence that’s sure to win over even the most hardened gig goer. London crowds are notoriously hard to excite, so it’s remarkable that only two tracks in the room is shuffling collectively, and some youngsters are even dancing up front. Later, when headliners Theme Park take the stage, the room is packed but the stony crowd are unmoved. The move across the Irish Sea may have been an unfortunate necessity for The Cast of Cheers but they are clearly making the most of it. They are on fire tonight and can only get better over the course of this pairing’s coming weeks on tour. Call it national pride, but after the first night we know who has made the biggest impression.
Photo: Clair Weir