Towns, Must, The Vestals, Spectres – Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, London – 09/01/13

It’s night two of the annual six-night Artrocker magazine New Blood Festival of rising indie artists down in Hoxton. And on this occasion it’s a case of the south-west vs. London in the four hotly tipped acts up for scrutiny. Kicking off are Bristol’s Spectres – the Artrocker ‘Unsigned Act of the year – who, as their name may suggest, are deep and dark and play like frenzied ghouls. Unfortunately there are probably less than two-dozen people in the room to hear what their forthcoming EP ‘Hunger’ may be about. Wall-of-noise is the order of things as they head straight into last year’s release ‘14 Years’, and although not destined for EP inclusion it’s a drawn-out ear-thumper. ‘Rattle The Cage’ takes things down to a more moody, sombre level through Joe Hatt’s vocals, but by the finale ‘Threshing Machine’ with its hammering drums and three guitarists hitting chords like there’s no tomorrow, they’ve warmed the space up nicely, proving they’re new blood to keep on the radar.


A swift changeover moves into operation with The Vestals up on stage and setting up before Spectres have barely finished. Possibly the revelation of the night, for this quintet not only have the looks and style to succeed, but add to that a healthy batch of catchy songs and a frontman – Adam – with an eminently watchable stage presence (a raft of expressive body movements and hand gestures than reminds of Zulu Winter’s Will Daunt) then you’re onto a pretty safe bet. Interestingly, the title of one of their six-song numbers is ‘Bored As Hell’ – which is the least apt description one could think of to sum up this South Wales outfit. ‘Mrs Halloween’, an upbeat dancey affair that encourages two females punters to make use of the floor at the front, leads into both sides of their forthcoming single release, ‘Perfect Pain’ and ‘Seventeen’; the former, with Adam strapping on guitar for, being the better live of the two. Signed up as support to the February Pure Love tour, The Vestals are hot – remember that and where you heard it first.


Must arrive with their own backdrop  (a close-up black & white image of a girl’s face with sunglasses reflection) and a surf/grunge pop set that draws in the crowds to the room. The London quartet, formed early last year, are inspired by the likes of Teenage Fan Club, and their six-song set of shoegaze-esque guitars and the falsetto vocal-ed frontman lends to an Arctic Monkeys’ vibe here and there, particularly on ‘Graceland’, the band’s recent single, and ‘The Devil Lives’. Honey rich guitar riffs and some stinging guitar play-offs on the rockier ‘Just Wait’, Must must be on course for one of the best new young bands of 2013.


Weston-super-Mare’s Towns skip back to days of yore that mashes up a late 60s rock vibe with a touch of Ride, The Charlatans and My Bloody Valentine. The lo-fi quartet have steadily been garnering appeal and a fanbase, including opening for Paul Weller at 100 Club last August. Tonight they parade nothing from their debut ‘Sleepwalking’ EP, but instead focus on six tracks that deliver on the money. Each they perform with a studied ease and confidence, from the opener ‘Just Everything’, that sees Breton polo-necked vocalist James MacLucas and mophead guitarist John Paul Beaumont down on their knees as they flesh out the drone anthem, through to the ripples of their debut single ‘Gone Are The Days’ and the thunderous ‘Heads Off’. Finishing on ‘Everyone’s Out’’s wail of feedback, Towns have been ‘one to watch’ from the start of 2012, and if Zane Lowe amongst others thinks they’re worthy enough of acclaim, who are we to disagree.


Four bands each with their own distinctive musical style and stage presence. And all more than worth a second see and hear.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.