Live Review: Moose Blood, Turnover and Boston Manor – KOKO, London – 07/10/2016

Two years to the day since the release of their debut album ‘I’ll Keep You in Mind, From Time to Time’, Moose Blood take to the stage for their biggest London headline show to date, with support coming from fellow UK pop-punkers Boston Manor, and Virginia Beach natives Turnover.

Visibly enthused by the release of their well-received debut album ‘Be Nothing’, Boston Manor hit the stage armed with fresh material and energy to spare. KOKO is packed by the time the boys from the North-West hit the stage, but they have no problems whipping the crowd into a frenzy early on, with new single ‘Laika’ resonating straightaway. Undaunted by the size of the audience in front of them, Boston Manor provide a set full of melody, heart, and fun frenetic energy. They have no trouble invoking the night’s first big sing-along, with vocalist Henry Cox leading the charge, demanding the audience matches him for tenacity, as he attacks the stage. ‘Trapped Nerve’ rounds off a blinding set that seemed over all too quickly. (4/5)

In comparison, US indie rockers Turnover deliver a different vibe to the night’s proceedings, with their blend of shoegaze-psychedelia bringing a tranquil air of sophistication to the bill. The band drift through their setlist effortlessly, elevated by 2015’s ‘Peripheral Vision’ making up a large portion of the performance. Songs like ‘Hello Euphoria’, ‘Cutting My Fingers Off’, and ‘Dizzy On The Comedown’ aid to the cohesiveness of a set that the crowd seem eager to enjoy, swaying in unison to some of the material’s more dreamier moments. However, for what Turnover provide in the slickness of their performance, they seem to lack in energy, and their overall performance can’t seem to shake off several lethargic moments, moments which are magnified tonight following the youthful exuberance of Boston Manor before them. This taking a little away from what is an otherwise accomplished performance. (3.5/5)

The shimmering stage aesthetic adds a little style to the set, but it is the songs that are the true substance here. Opener ‘Pastel’ draws the night’s first true full-venue sing-along, with noise levels going up a notch further with breakout hit, ‘Honey’. If there was any pressure to perform at their biggest headline show ever, it didn’t show. The band are tight, and breeze through the night’s 17 song setlist with ease, to a riotous reception from their crowd. Unsurprisingly, it is the eight songs from their sophomore success ‘Blush’ which has the most impact with the crowd, with the audience happy to takeover vocal duties on the plethora of catchy choruses Moose Blood have in their arsenal.

Frontman Eddy Brewerton is a palatable presence on stage, regularly taking the time between songs to thank the crowd for making the scale of this tour possible. His dedication of ‘Cherry’ to his wife who was in attendance, was a particularly tender moment, as the crowd stood as one to take in the emotion of it. Some may point to Brewerton’s humbleness and lack of rock star bravado as a negative, but in this instance it made for a beautifully poignant break in the performance. ‘Knuckles’ rounds off the set in some style, as Moose Blood send their crowd home happy. The band have clearly had a blast tonight, and their joy of headlining one of London’s finest stages was infectious.

Despite their inexperience headlining at this level, Moose Blood showed no signs tonight that KOKO will be the peak of their touring years. The venue was theirs, and they dealt with the hype surrounding them as one of the UK’s hottest prospects with a strong setlist and a great performance. It is hard now not to envisage bigger stages in Moose Blood’s future. This was a real triumph for a band who look to be enjoying the ride they’re on right now. (4.5/5)

4/5

Words by Joe Philpott (@joe_philpott). Photos by Sam Haines.

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