Live Review: Luna Kicks + Knaves // Plug, Sheffield, 24.04.15

Luna Kicks’ bassist Matt Webster acknowledges the absurdity of being at a gig when it’s still light outside. “What time is it, five o’clock?” he asks, nonetheless thanking those in attendance this evening at Plug. Although it’s not the greatest turnout in the world for a Friday night, the songs that the band works through elicit a positive reception, heads bobbing and feed tapping in time to the pulsing bass and drumbeat.

Billowing clouds of artificial fog are dispensed every so often, given the surroundings a sinister ethereal feel. Luna Kicks’ heavy aural entities aren’t too far afield from Kasabian, and taking one look at lead guitarist and vocalist Jack Galvin, Sergio Pizzorno is clearly an influence on the three piece. Upcoming single ‘Tightrope’ is a definite standout from their set.

Knaves take to the stage, and slowly but surely the audience creeps forward. From the tie-dye band-shirts, to the ballroom dancing, box steps and flailing that are occurring at the front, its clear Knaves have a small but dedicated fanbase – consisting of their mates – who can be counted on to ensure that their shows are lively and feel-good. The band work their way through a short but sweet setlist comprised of tracks from the Suncatcher EP (released November last year), upcoming single ‘Breathe’ and tracks ‘Circuit’ ‘Tear It Apart’ and ‘Little Ray’. As Dan Cunningham sings “she dances to the melody” in the catchy sonic entity ‘95’, there is a jovial atmosphere; heads are bopping and a few audience members are going well and truly mental. The carefree attitude is infectious, and sure enough massive grins spread across the faces of those present, even if we’re not all brave enough to lose our shit.

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Knaves’ sound is refreshingly unique, it is delectably summery without being too sickly-sweet. Highlights include ‘Stalemate’, with the simplistic “oh” based chorus making for guaranteed audience participation, whilst Will Lloyd’s drumbeat provides the perfect backdrop for Nick Iatridis-Jones’ jangly guitar melody. An instrumental jam mid-set demonstrates the band’s musical talent, beyond simply writing and performing relatable songs about wanting someone (so-o-o). Every band member’s contribution is equally important, from Niall O’Donnell’s bassline, to Cunningham stood centre stage.  With the other three members chipping in with backing vocals, Knaves’ synchronicity gives them an edge over fellow bands, where there is a definitive sense of hierarchy.

It’s this collective effort combined with their unique sound that makes it entirely unsurprising that the band played YNOT festival last summer. Moving forwards, a realistic goal for Knaves would be to draw more people to their live shows. Their music and performance is strong and assured, and I’m certain bigger crowds are undoubtedly out there waiting for them.

Words by Beth Kirkbride

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