High Wycombe Quintet Bring High Energy Indie Rock to Birmingham
Sat only a stone’s throw away from New Street Station, the Sunflower Lounge is one the second city’s hidden gems.
With a thoroughly civilised outdoor seating section to engage in the great British pastime of drinking in the street before descending to the venue below, it was the perfect casual gig venue to see one of the countries most exciting new indie groups.
The evening kicked-off with local boys Crymson. Their style of flicky haired indie-pop, influenced by bands like the Vaccines & Bombay Bicycle Club, is nothing new. But, as they found their feet through the course of their set, they ended on a couple of really solid tracks. Add this to their ability to pack out the already cramped Sunflower Lounge on a Wednesday night and Crymson are certainly ones to watch as their sound develops over the next couple of years!
Second up, The Mustoes. Another West Midlands outfit, the five piece were the biggest surprise of the evening. Despite the tiny venue, their high concept, synth driven, groove focused pop sensibilities were a highlight of a night already packed with stellar music.
The most musically dense of the three acts, their deceptively complex arrangements evoked bands like Chromeo and The 1975, while also staying clear and accessible. Not a feat to be sniffed at, given the limited production opportunities a venue as tight as The Sunflower Lounge offers.
The Main Event.
Despite both support acts bringing their A game, Only Sun rose to the task of entertaining the now thoroughly sauced crowd admirably. From the word go, their performance bought a much needed sense of fun that the anxious energy of Crymson and the high-concept drama of The Mustoes had missed.
With the beach balls pinging off the ceiling and the visual assault of the bands remarkable shirts setting the tone, Only Sun’s set was everything paying £6 to watch a band in a sweat-box basement venue should be. Running through a number of self-proclaimed indie-bangers, you couldn’t help but enjoy the energy of tracks like ‘Lives’ or ‘Vice’. Any of us who spent college or their first year of university drinking tins of lukewarm cider in the sun listening to Courteeners and other indie darlings will feel right at home.
Despite being 80 miles from home, the crowd was wholly onside and singing along come the final anthemic ending of ‘NHS70’; a fantastic way to end an equally fantastic gig.
While what came to be known in the mid-noughties as ‘landfill indie’ might have had it’s day, Only Sun’s performance was a strong argument for revisiting it. Stripped of the pretension and cliches that came to define the genre, Only Sun are just damn good fun.
They’re a fitting evolution of that sound, with a deep abiding love for it permeating everything they’ve done over the past 4 years. They’ll be finding a place in my summer playlists because of this gig, as they should do in yours as well.
Words by Rob Collingridge
Pictures by Rob Collingridge & Connor Pooler