The three mononymous-named bands that fill The Shacklewell Arms stage on a cold Friday night in London may share that
similarity of name, but that is where it starts and ends. The Dalston hipsteresque fraternity always take their time before gearing up
to anything, and with this being a free night, many were too busy displaying their hip hair and swagger shoes in the outside area to
do more than pop their head in the door for most of the night.
That said they would have undoubtedly missed opening act Sheen – and there’s quite a lot of Sheen to miss, all six of them in fact, which includes the still fairly rare sight of a female drummer and the statuesque blonde Swede frontwoman Aneta. More East Sheen than Charlie, but sheeny-shiny the Londoners are. They’re no two-minute song popsters they prove as they swamp five- minute trippy shimmers of ‘Hey’ and ‘One Step’ that blend Aneta’s delicate vocals with shoegazing melody. Think The Cure or My Bloody Valentine, but definitely not Abba.
When it comes to Loom, there is certainly nothing ‘delicate’ or that could remotely compel you to do any shoegazing. While for the best part of this year the Leamington-based quartet – led by Tarik Badwan, brother of Faris Badwan of The Horrors – have been stepping on stages here and there in second or third on bills and doing no more than raising eyes and smiles on the faces of punters present, they now find themselves about to seemingly ride the crest of a media hype surge.
Photographers jostle for front row positions as the band arrive on stage and spend several more minutes silently fiddling and testing things, before powering up into ‘Lizard’. Anyone who’s seen this band will know that Badwan spends as much time off stage and in the crowd as he does on it; glowering directly into the faces of those present as if ready for a head-on challenge. ‘Hate’ suffers technical problems and it’s obviously the singer isn’t happy, with vocals barely audible, before calling a halt and several seconds elapse until they work their way back into the song.
Of their five-song set, ‘No Control’ is the key which justifies Loom as being one of the most exciting bands to have emerged this year. Its full-on power is driven on stage by the thrashing guitars of Joshua Fitzgerald and Matt Marsh, and by Badwan himself, who is nearly knocked aside by one over-enthusiastic body-popping fan. When they finish on ‘Bleed On Me’ – released on 3rd December as their first recorded offering through Heart Throb Records – you’re left just wanting more – much more. Confident, demanding and with a presence way too big for a tiny east London stage, Loom command attention. And make no mistake, there are going to get it.
Temples, on the other hand, don’t do ‘in-yer-face’ or rattle any cages in an alarming way as do Loom. There has been a lot of talk – and praise – for the four-piece psych rock outfit with the psychedelic dream waving songs and lush crop of hair. They arrive here after a big show the previous night, opening for Mystery Jets at Royal Festival Hall, and in comparison both venue and set are miniscule. Yet with their floating kaleidoscopic visual effects and the combination of James Bagshaw on vocals and Thomas Warmsley on bass and backing vocals, they more than fill the room. So much so that by midway through their set there are probably more people outside the door trying to get in than actual bodies in the room within viewing distance of this much-vaunted band who deliver a neo-60s vibe on parallel with the Byrds or Soft Machine.
From glimmering like a latter-day March Bolan on ‘The Guesser’ and ‘The Golden Throne’ through to the final – and whistle and cheer inducing – ‘Shelter Song’ there was not so much swooning going on in the house, as a quiet appreciation of a band who have in the course of 12 months come from nowhere (well, they do hail from Kettering) to produce one of the year’s best single releases, and hail the return of the sonic love bomb. Peace, man.