Spector, Gross Magic & Cymbals, Barfly, 29 August 2011

Tonight is sold out. Spector have a mere two songs available to listen to online and this, their second London headline show, has sold out. The hype around this band is truly impressive, and tonight will only justify it.

This gig is a real showcase of new music, with two bands most music-savvy punters have probably at least heard whisperings of serving as supports.

Cymbals appear to be having a brilliant time, playing catchy, quirky, punky pop dominated by powerfully energetic rhythms. They’ve definitely got something.

Gross Magic are completely different. They are heavier, grungier, and have a lead singer who sings in a high-pitched tone vaguely reminiscent of that of Placebo’s Brian Molko. They’re slightly unusual, but their well-constructed songs and infectious riffs very soon grow on the whole room.

Spector begin setting up the stage and immediately the girls at the front begin discussing which one they’re after. Suddenly this feels like a very early Take That gig. Could Spector be Hoxton’s very own boyband?

It kicks off with Friday Night, which steadfastly proves that they’ve got more than the right look. Lead singer Fred Macpherson is ferociously passionate in a way that adds new meaning to the phrase ‘sing like you mean it’, but the rest of the band provide the guts. Spector’s wall of sound and dependence on roaring backing vocals means that not one member could be sacrificed without it jeopardising everything. The dynamic is captivating.

They power through new single What You Wanted, provoking a fair old sing-along from the crowd, but amazingly it’s Chevy Thunder, widely known as by far their best and least-accessible song, that gets the biggest reaction.

So far there’s been a good amount of shuffling along, but the brilliantly fiery love song that is Chevy Thunder gets everybody moving – an inevitable future indie floor-filler if you ever did hear one.

After what Macpherson declares has been “approximately 22 minutes”, he admits that the band had signed up for a 45 minute set, but only have seven songs – six of which have already been played.

Following threats that Macpherson would have to talk to the audience for the next 20 minutes, the stage manager lets them off, and they drive their way through their debut single, Never Fade Away.

Spector have the whole room in the palm of their hands, getting pretty much every single person clapping along all the way through a very long intro, after which they sing every word as if it’s Take That’s Pray.

The band, and especially Fred, who semi-collapses with the force of every line, perform with a vigour that proves they know how good these songs are – and unfortunately they’re right.

After about half an hour they run out of songs, but tonight wasn’t about quantity. It was short, it was sharp and, according to the ladies at the front, it was sexy.

Set list

Friday Night
Grey Shirt And Tie
What You Wanted
Chevy Thunder
Lay Low
Never Fade Away

By Sophie Armour


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