21st October | SWX
Photos: Callum O’Keefe
Easy Life have gone from relative obscurity to selling out a UK tour in two years, with appearances on Later With Jools Holland and at multiple festivals including Glastonbury fuelling their surge in popularity. Their genre-smashing mixture of indie-rock, hip-hop and jazz is genuinely fresh and interesting, setting them apart from other bands on the scene. So having said that, I take little pleasure in saying that what I found at their Bristol SWX gig was a band steeping in their own arrogance and ego, who are dangerously close to throwing away the goodwill they’ve achieved.
First we had to endure half an hour of what can only be described as ‘grime karaoke’ from Kamakaze, aka Matt Robinson. It turns out Robinson is also a professional footballer from Leicester, and it was hilarious to find videos of him talking about football online in his native tones after listening to his faux South London accent while he attempted to get the crowd involved. His on-stage sidekick looking lost while dancing only added to the awkwardness. But hey, some people seemed to like it.
Easy Life’s set started off well enough, with the five-piece launching into a rendition of recent single, ‘Earth’. But soon, ego took over and it went off the rails. Bearing in mind that a large portion of the crowd there was under eighteen, frontman Murray Matravers’ invitation to audience members to come and “get fucked up’” with him for his birthday, as well as praising Bristol’s cocaine and ketamine consumption, was massively tone-deaf and irresponsible. It suggested that the band are unaware who their core fanbase is or they simply don’t care.
The show continued to descend into self-parody. Matravers strutted about with his shirt off, occasionally stopping to pose like a less-stacked Stretch Armstrong. Drummer Olly Cassidy shouted for the audience to carry him to the back of the venue while crowd surfing, only to get stuck halfway and give up. Embarrassing.
The point at which Matravers took a swig of his drink before spraying the crowd with it was when I checked out and lost touch for a band I had previously been a supporter of. Perhaps at the grizzled age of 25, I have become cynical, but seeing a group of lads my age bigging up class A drugs to a predominantly teenage crowd and showing complete contempt to paying fans by drenching them in booze and spit left a very bad taste. I can’t have been the only one.
What makes this even worse is that Easy Life are very competent musicians and their output is original, with their sold-out tour proving their songs are resonating with people, particularly teenagers. It’s about time an interesting and exciting new band came along that are able to tap into the psyche, fashion and pop culture of a new generation of music fans and make era-defining tunes, a millennial Stone Roses if you will. Easy Life could be that – and not just because their prominent use of lemons in their social media posts comes directly from the Mancunian legends.
But from this show, it seems they’re more interested in acting up than concentrating on the music. Sure they’ve just been signed to Interscope, but you have to seriously question how long they can ride this wave of success if they act more like they’re on a Freshers’ Week night out when they should be putting on a show.
See the video for ‘Earth’ here: