Luckily for us we weren’t affected by Wednesday’s Tube strikes, unlike many others that couldn’t make it to Surya near Kings Cross. Despite this, the turnout was still pretty good.
Suyra is a very small venue that regularly features fresh, slick new bands. The line up we had came to see included: Smoking Clone, Mei The Music, Those Handsome Animals and Paper Circus.
On first was Smoking Clone, an electronic rock trio that produce similar sounds to Chvrches. Interestingly, they looked pretty young, maybe no older than 19/20 years-old, and to see them playing live is a huge achievement in itself. They weren’t very crowd friendly, and their Sound was a little unrefined, even after a year of producing songs, but they had a good rhythm and energy.
Next up was the neo-soul band ‘Mei the Music’, we hadn’t heard anything thing from them before, but we were pleasantly surprised when they sparked up. The vocals from the lead singer sounded powerful, and the backing singers enhanced the strong lyrics. Their songs sounded pretty decent; they finished their set with a cover.
Now on to the guys we were there to see. Those Handsome Animals were clearly more experienced than all the other younger bands, kicking off with ‘Home’ in style. Their sound is very heavy, catchy and bouncy, a bit like The Vaccines with their indie garage-rock. Those Handsome Animals have a more Alternative rock style. ‘Right For The City’ literally ripped the roof off one of London’s lesser known venues, before going to their next segment.
In the middle of the gig, they held a raffle, something I have never seen happen at a gig before. Yet it worked. The crowd loved having the chance of winning some of Tesco’s first-class bottom-shelf wine (We were one ticket away!). Never have I been so excited in a raffle, the anticipation to win some Angel Delight or a bet on a 1/100 horse was almost overwhelming. This really got the crowd going, something even world famous acts struggle to do.
After the short break is was straight back to the music with ‘Away Again’and a couple of songs we’ve not heard of, all sounding terrific. The crowd even threw some roses and shouting “So handsome” with some woo’s and whistles. The set ended with ‘Doing Fine’, a song about telling you mates you’re alright, “even when you feel shit”. Now, surprisingly this was their second gig and said that they always play this song twice. Something a band never does.
This gig really cemented THA into our hearts; they are a fresh band that do everything so well already. The way the songs sound like classics that are captured and reignited when listened to again, these are no meaningless songs created on a whim. All the songs have an understandable meaning and are enhanced with impressive chords, backed up with a unique voice in Thomas Millet. The way they are able to engage with a crowd at this early stage is also really impressive.
The final act, Paper Circus, a very young quartet from London consists of Kevin, Alan, Sara and Mickael producing an indie rock punch. ‘Going Down’ is a fast paced song that gets going from an early stage.
When they came on a few people had left, missing out on some great music including single ‘Take It Back’. Frontman Alan sounded pretty decent up on the tiny stage, just about big enough to fit all of the equipment.
But nethertheless from what we heard before coming to the gig we were impressed with their live performance, and in fact we liked everyone’s performance. So they need to get signed up quick!
We witnessed some pretty amazing grass roots music at Surya. These low-level bands showed that they can create some pioneering new music, even with less than a tenth of the budget demanded by bigger bands. Which just goes to show that smaller bands pack just as much talent as the big ones. That night reminded us why we love doing what we do; uncovering new bands is awesome, and sharing them with you and seeing your reaction is amazing.