In the Summer, I got some business cards printed. I had to choose 10 photos from the 1000s I’ve taken to go on the back of them. One of those had to be October Drift.
I “discovered” October Drift playing a support slot for Echobelly in June. I was one of only two photographers who had turned up early and I was blown away by them. Since then, they have gone a bit bigger, having played Glastonbury’s John Peel Stage at the personal request of Michael Eavis. And I ordered two rather cool t-shirts from their website.
So I have to admit to being a fan; therefore, anyone reading the below should bear that in mind. Gushing reporting is purely a function of having a second chance to see one of the hottest properties around at the moment.
I was back to The Lexington – which you may have guessed is a pre-war red brick pub in London’s East End. I suspect I may have that phrase etched on my next set of business cards…
Five-piece Jennifer play indie songs that link back to the ’80s and possibly earlier psychedelic groups. They are the sort of band that you would probably encounter in most Student Union bars across the country. Tunes seem to fall into the category of either the “slow one” or the “faster one”. It was the first time I’ve seen a twelve string-guitar on stage this year, which was somewhat out of tune towards the end of the set.
They thanked us for “sticking around”, which felt a bit weird at the time as they were first on. I realized that the crowd could have gone downstairs to the Bourbon Lounge rather than watch them. So it did make sense after all, unlike their band name which makes them very hard to find on social media.
Another band that I’ve previously photographed this year. I was in a pub in Brighton at the Alternative Escape event organised by End of the Trail Records and Fierce Panda – the band’s label. 485C played mid-afternoon that day to a packed space, which included the likes of Steve Lamacq (a famous indie radio DJ and broadcaster here in the UK). There was definitely something in the air – a buzz about them – people wanted to see 485C and it was easy to see why.
The band is named after Pantone 485C, which looks remarkably like the colour of the SoundCloud play button. Tonight they painted broad brush indie songs that are straight out of The Strokes‘ songbook. They have that mid-Atlantic look and feel about them.
Despite being support, they put on a show that captivated the rapidly filling room, and I wondered a couple of times if Jim Morrison had been dug up from his home in Pere Lachaise. Highlight (for me) was their penultimate catchy track, “She’ll Lie”, which should be on any indie DJ’s playlist.
Time to gush.
If you haven’t seen Taunton’s October Drift yet, you really have missed out.
From the opening bars of “You Are, You Are” the four-piece band threw itself around the stage – and at times off it. They perform at a frantic pace, and their songs are irresistibly urgent. They play as if the end of the world is coming and they have to do something about it.
The quartet of Kiran Roy, Chris Holmes, Alex Bispham, and Daniel Young built a wall of sound that roared through the intimate venue. Songs emerged from obvious indie roots. Indeed, the first time I saw them I felt that I was watching the younger brother of White Lies – only faster, louder and a whole lot better. They are ’80s indie throwbacks that have updated the genre for today’s musical youth.
It probably comes as no surprise that you can find an October Drift cover version of Joy Division‘s “Atmosphere” on YouTube. Kiran Roy’s voice has the same deep resonance as Ian McCulloch and Ian Curtis, and he plays his Fender under his arm a bit like a ukulele. I seem to remember that Bernard Sumner holds his guitar up high. I wonder? Nah, New Order never had this energy.
Half way through the set, I decided that I would be lucky to be able to get any photos that didn’t look blurred, so switched from photographer to fan. October Drift are not going to stand still for anyone. Kiran waded into the crowd and then sang from the top of the bar at the back of the hall. Their music drives people slightly wild, obviously.
Best band in the UK?
It seemed appropriate to text my wife to say that I was watching the best band in the UK (apart from the Bunnymen, of course, and maybe VITO). I will be singing the verse and chorus from “The Past” and the tune of “Cinnamon Girl” for a long time to come. They even treated us to the first ever airing of a new song, “Forever Whatever”, which I remember being something about shoelaces. I may need to listen to that one a few times before I can sing along.
If you get the chance to catch the Drift on tour this month, go1 (The lucky people of Oxford can see them with the equally impressive Desperate Journalist on the 14th October). Try to see them while they are still playing those Victorian pubs because it won’t be long before they are headlining Glastonbury and my business cards become crucial collectible rock memorabilia.
- You Are, You Are
- Cherry Red
- Don’t Give Me Hope
- Losing My Touch
- Forever Whatever
- The Past
- Cinnamon Girl
Marcus Jamieson-Pond is a regular contributor to The Revue. See his back stories here. More than 200 live band shoots (including more photos from this gig) can be found at www.jampondphotography.com/gigs
Thanks to October Drift for inviting The Revue to cover this gig.
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