3rd October | Fleece
Photos: Philip Hiscocks
The Mysterines, a wonderfully loud three-piece, supported Sea Girls and gave serious 90s rock vibes as lead singer, Lia Medcalf belted out ‘I Love to Hate You’. She’s a punky aggressor that thrives with her distinguished husky vocals.
The nostalgia continued through the evening, and where The Mysterines reminisced in 90s rock, Sea Girls brought us forward a decade. Their sound plays like a glorious re-working of the noughties indie heyday contributions of The Kooks and The Wombats, whose swagger and attitude paved the way for lead singer Henry Camamile to grace centre stage as an indie God silhouetted in blue smoke. He hit every note and put on an impeccable show whilst aesthetically maintaining the façade of a front man shambles all at the same time. His confident gait gave off a leader of the pack presence, which was only further enhanced by his white linen two-piece.
Sea Girls’ confidence enveloped the room from the moment they graced the stage and they announced mid-set that every time they’ve returned to Bristol they’ve played a bigger venue. In truth they could have played somewhere bigger than the Fleece, but selling out this superb venue was a bet well played: it’s a hotbed for ascending artists and the atmosphere felt as though it could burst through the creaks and crevices and out onto St Thomas street at any moment.
Undoubtedly their music is very catchy. The audience sang along from the get-go with the only exception being the first play of ‘Forever’, though this track (like the rest of their output) is also surely a future earworm, as the lyrics were on the lips of the audience before the end of the song. ‘Damage Done’ is rooted in the anguish of a break-up – and fittingly the chorus was indulgently shoutable for the audience.
‘Too Much Fun’ and ‘All I Want to Hear You Say’ are examples of finessed indie pop songs – but my personal favourite of the night was ‘Call Me Out’. It sounds so stoically like a pillar of British indie-pop that it could have soundtracked my teenage years and played out over the credits of The Inbetweeners over a decade ago, but was so catchy and incessantly brilliant, I wanted to play it and replay it as soon as the gig ended.
It was also impossible to not get sucked in by a band that was so into what they were doing. From 100% committed crowd surfing, to leaping several feet in the air every millisecond, to a final messiah-like miracle from Camamile; in which he disappeared from the stage and re-appeared twenty feet away on a podium near the bar. The apparition was only let down by a guy visibly slackening the mic wire so it could stretch through the audience, although that act could have been viewed as a parting-of-the-sea.
Sea Girls are audacious and assured but their confidence isn’t arrogant. They’re steadily increasing their stature and fan base one step at a time, with a genuinely charming catalogue at the centre. They’re packaged as, present and perform as the all-new indie-pop Gods and I don’t think that’s too far from the truth.
See the video for ‘Damage Done’ here: