“Can we have the couples dancing at the front?” asks Holly Blackwell, singer and guitarist of Lancaster indie-punk duo The Lovely Eggs. The band are about to restart ‘Allergies’ from third album Wildlife, and said couples proceed to get on the dancefloor of Southampton venue, Talking Heads. This encapsulated the positive atmosphere of the evening.
Having previously seen The Lovely Eggs twice at both Indietracks Festival and Green Man, their fiercely DIY approach to a live show is a mind-blowing experience. Both Holly and husband David on drums have a strong drive that has also seen them self-record four consistently strong albums (If You Were Fruit, Cob Dominos, the aforementioned Wildlife, and This Is Our Nowhere) without any management or record label support.
Although the gig was far from a sell-out, the intimacy of the Talking Heads was a perfect setting. The Lovely Eggs come onstage to anticipated silence. After a big buildup of feedback, they launch into the double assault of ‘Ordinary People Unite’ and ‘Do It To Me’ off recent album This Is Our Nowhere. This demonstrates a strong chemistry and helps the gig flow nicely. This is also shown in the transitions between the songs. ‘Slug Graveyard’ goes from a slow sing-along, effortlessly turning into a thrashy punk track. This flows straight into ‘People Are Twats’, a song about how frustrating people can be. When Holly sings “Take ‘em for a ride on Monday”, she repeats this refrain for the rest of the days of the week. She pauses, saying, “this is getting silly now”, prompting some laughs from the audience.
‘I Like Birds (But I Like Other Animals Too)’ off debut album If You Were Fruit is energetic and bouncy, while David’s drumming is fluid. Although Holly nervously gets the first and second verses mixed up, this adds to the rawness of the performance. They then launch into the equally bouncy ‘Music’, encouraging some of the audience members to start dancing.
What makes a gig stand out is a band’s interaction with the audience because it can form a strong, personal connection. The Lovely Eggs have this in spades. During the introduction to new single ‘Goofin’ Around (in Lancashire)’, they dedicate the song to a gig promoter called Tony when they played a gig in Bournemouth. During a house party, Holly said she got drunk and poured mustard on Tony’s head, leaving the audience howling with laughter.
The banter continues before they play ‘The Investment’, during which Holly asks: “Has anyone got a landline?” A smattering of people put their hands up; after some consideration the rest of the audience follows suit, to which she replies: “Oh they’re all coming out now!” She tells a story about how the band received some cold calls on the landline, where she acted genuine towards them and then hung up. The song itself is a personal highlight of the set, with a ton of enthusiasm and energy in both band and audience. David’s drumming in particular was captivating and enjoyable to watch.
By this point, the band are in their element, the balance of distortion and melody flowing superbly. ‘Magic Onion’ showcases more thunderous drumming along with Holly’s strong Northern accent, with Onion pronounced ‘Unyon”. The track is based around a one-chord riff, the pummeling distortion on the guitar sounding much heavier live. The off-kilter delivery in Holly’s vocals is evident on ‘I Just Want Someone to Fall In Love With’, and the introspective ‘Fuck It’. It works well on both tracks. The latter song is dedicated to “anyone who has to go to work in the morning hung-over”, and provides a sweaty sing-along. At the end of the song, Holly says that “the Dalai Lama had a similar philosophy, he just said it in a different way”.
The band played ‘Allergies’, with some members of the audience losing their minds. During the trippy, psychedelic middle-eight, both Holly and David’s vocals blend perfectly. They finished on ‘Don’t Look At Me (I Don’t Like It)’, rounding off an adrenaline-fuelled performance and showing that their live show is not to be missed.
Words by Ermis Madikopoulos