Words: Patti Aberhart
Pictures: Lily Cook
Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs, Start The Bus, 28/05/13
Upon entering Bristol’s familiar dimly lit cave of mischievous happenings that is Start the Bus, the kids are out to play, despite being a Tuesday evening I’m surprised to see it’s a pretty decent turn out for a weeknight. The place is literally beaming with retro dressed kings and queens sporting clean whiskeys and raucous banter, making the most of their precious but decaying youth.
I’m pushing my way through the loved up swarm of scene kids, right to the front, ready for my ears to be destroyed, having heard mixed reviews and wanting to know what all the fuss is about, I am a keen to make my own evaluation. At first glimpse they definitely have that “look” so many young bands try to capture, the classic smart but slightly dishevelled east London band uniform, Question is, can they back up their good looks with depth and above all, actual talent? I’m eager to find out.
I am pleasantly surprised as instead of the usual thrash feel-good intro most bands of this genre tend to swear by, Charlie and his Voyeurs ease into things low key with a jingle jangle haunt of slow pace guitar and drawn out bass lines. But soon enough, we are faced with what was evidentially going to happen, the Londoner’s crash into a steady upbeat party starter, second track on newly released album (Clarietta) ‘I’ve got a River’.
Steadily Transitioning into B-side ‘Be Nice’ taken from Debut single released later last year, Charlie keeps his cool whilst catching the gaze of a few doe eyed females.
“You’ve got the genes, but you haven’t got the stroll” he chants, his lyrics which I especially admire, are light hearted but with what seems like truthful meaning, often supporting stellar hooks with one repetitive word or sentence, leaving choruses stuck in your head like permanent marker you just can’t wipe off your skin.
“Thank you. So…much” Charlie’s shaky shy mumbles differentiate to his bold confident shouts whilst performing, suddenly the rockstar exterior is put aside and I am confronted by a sweetly angelic gentleman who comes across as actually giving a toss about what the audience think. Those oceans are shortly swam as the boys pick up their glam rock 70’s skuzz vibe with dirty punk crackles once again, Pouting lips and New York attitude with catchy number ‘Be Glamorous’. It’s as cool as cool can be, they have a good knack of taking their audiences right back in time to the vibrant and toxic state of the seventies, even without the authentic experience in hand, it’s very convincing, and it’s obviously a large part of their appeal.
‘I Watch you’ another stand out and title track from their first release, marks the end of the set, bringing the bread to the table. Driven in the beginning by the domineering guitar riff and banging’ keys we are greeted by a few of Charlie’s familiar smart laced lines “I kiss you, I feel so dapper in love, I beat-beat-beat-beat you cause one of you is not enough” With the intimate blessing of a small stage and a warm rush of nostalgia it almost feels like we are all linked in someway, having a rave in someone’s living room even, a rare quality which personally, I always look for in a gig.
Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs certainly wear their influences strongly sewn on, if you’re into Television, The Modern Lovers and vocaltones of 60’s favourites T.Rex then get on the hype wagon for these starlets. Best make the most of them though whilst they are still playing the smaller venues, I wouldn’t blink an eye if they soon took to larger stages and stadiums in the near future.