Photos (c) Louise Brady
From the very first song, the raw energy of the band seemed to transform the room into a brutal yet overwhelmingly joyful miasma of limbs, fists and sweat.
As I stood in the dimly lit, foam ceilinged venue room of The Louisiana, what struck me the most was the audience, not just in terms of diversity (ages ranged from what looked like fourteen to late fifties) but also in terms of energy. Before any of the supports even began to thrash at their guitars, the buzzing atmosphere foreshadowed the intensity that was to be Eagulls’ set.
The night began with an energetic set from Milo’s Planes, opening with the racing drum fill of ‘Vultures’ which injected the room with a hefty dose of energetic punk, and resulted some rather over-enthusiastic head banging from several audience members. Despite technical issues, namely the front man tuning the wrong string three times and then proceeding to forlornly admit to his error, they left the stage on a high. Their blinding, reverb-heavy cover of The Velvet Underground’s ‘Sister Ray’ seemed to hang deliciously in the air – and my eardrums, long after the set was over. The second support, Autobahn, sounded like the moodier, existential older brother of Milo’s Planes, with singer Craig Johnson crashing through the set like a debauched madman, regularly snarling into the crowd.
By the time Eagulls were set to play, voices were raised, hair was being tied back, sleeves were being rolled up, and elbows were primed and ready for what was to be an exhilarating set. From the very first song, the raw energy of the band seemed to transform the room into a brutal yet overwhelmingly joyful miasma of limbs, fists and sweat. Eagulls’ unbridled ferocity made for what could only be described as a borderline religious experience. Frontman George Mitchell’s growling passionate vocals provoked a trance-like frenzy from the crowd, all of whom seemed to grasp this sinister energy and throw it back at the band in a primeval display of adoration.
The pure urgency of their songs shone throughout the set, particularly with crowd pleaser ‘Nerve Endings’ which prompted a barrage of feral moshers to launch themselves headfirst into the crowd. Despite it’s charged racing nature, what stuck with me with ‘Nerve Endings’ was its sense of honesty. In previous interviews Mitchell has described the song as an expression of his anxiety, and there was definitely a sense of cathartic release during the song, caught up in the infectious, relentless bass line and lashings of guitar feedback. The summery vibes of ‘Moulting’ also created a sense of camaraderie within the pit as several sweaty youths moshed in unison, with their arms laced around each other’s shoulders.
At the end of the set swarms of clammy teenagers and adults alike, who had previously never met, were slapping each other’s backs in fervent displays of solidarity. This overriding intensity of experience seems to be something that Eagulls thrive in and feed off, making them an electrifying, dizzying force to be reckoned with.
Watch their video for ‘Nerve Endings’ right here: