January 14th | Rough Trade
Photos: Craig Simmonds
The Big Moon feel reborn at Rough Trade tonight. Promoting the release of their luminous new album, Walking Like We Do with an in-store show, they seem to have an extra spring in their step. Moving past the grungy rock of their debut, the band have embraced a fresh, warmer sound. Coloured by bright keyboards and bold hooks, the new songs hit the audience like a dazzling strobe light.
Walking Like We Do lead single. ‘It’s Easy Then’ lands early in the set, acting almost as a mission statement for The Big Moon’s new style. “It’s easy then, you make it hard,” the band members chant on the chorus. Like most of the songs from the album, it almost feels like a mantra, telling us that everything is going to be okay, that our lives don’t need to be as hard or complicated as we often make them.
They also show the band flexing their musical muscles in exciting new ways. ‘Take A Piece’ is built around a shimmering electronic hook, while ‘Don’t Think’ features peppy handclaps and vocal harmonies that wouldn’t feel out of place on a 90s girl group album. Many of the new songs just make you want to dance, and the band even take time during the show to compliment some of the hip-moving happening at the front of the audience.
“We’ve been playing stripped-back shows for the past few nights,” says lead vocalist, Juliette Jackson early on in the show. And then with a smile, “It feels good to be loud again.” Despite their overhauled sound, The Big Moon are still more than capable of shredding hard when necessary. The spaced-out ‘Why’ gives guitarist, Soph Nathan room to erupt into a heavy guitar solo in the song’s second half. Similarly, the band’s rendition of older cut ‘Sucker’, built around jagged guitar chords and Fern Ford’s pummelling drumming, shows the band haven’t lost touch with their harder side.
Next, the band deliver a softer cut: the tender piano ballad ‘Waves’. “If you want to get emotional, this is the one to do it to,” says Jackson when introducing it. It’s the tenderest moment of a mostly high-energy performance. Afterwards The Big Moon dig into an older cut, fan-favourite ‘Cupid’. It gives the band another chance to let loose, with its distorted, hook-heavy chorus. It also once again highlights how good they are at maintaining dual identities. The difference between the grungy rock of ‘Cupid’ and the shimmering indie-pop of newer songs like ‘It’s Easy Then’ is like night and day, and the group prove themselves to be masters of both.
Eventually things draw to a close with the glimmering ‘Your Light’ – a jewel-studded tune that might be the band’s finest one yet. “On days like this, I forget my darkness and remember your light,” goes the song’s chorus and it’s an apt descriptor for The Big Moon’s performance. There’s no doubt that everyone in the audience gave themselves over to the band’s light for a little bit tonight.
See the video for ‘Take A Piece’ here: