Daniel Lovatt gives his view on the indie six piece as they visited Manchester on their UK tour.
Date published: 5th Mar 2018
Image: Neon Waltz (credit)
After never seeing Neon Waltz play live before, I didn’t really know what to expect. Of course, I knew they were a six-piece pysch-pop infusion hailing from mainland Scotland, and had received notable recognition from industry juggernauts such as Noel Gallagher and former Oasis manager Marcus Russell. I was eager to get my teeth sunk into what promised to be an exhilarating spectacle.
The band have had a busy 18 months, they released their EP ‘Bring me to Life’ earlier this year, off the back of their debut album Strange hymns release in 2017 alongside two other singles. They arrived at Soup kitchen amid a UK tour, and whether the adoration that audiences on their local Scottish circuit had translated to Manchurian spectators remained to be seen.
The band entered the stage, all with a unique aesthetic. They began to play, and throughout each guitar interlude, singer Jordan Shearer could be seen with swaying delicately from side to side, as if fantasising of running through a field of dandelions. The others followed him, armed with nothing except stonewash denim jackets and three-cord melodies.
Many of the songs performed, struck me as more pop orientated with a peppering of heavy psychedelic rhythms. Songs such as 'Heavy Heartless' and an acoustic version of I Fall Asleep effortlessly encapsulated a nostalgic misery of summers that have passed and love that has faded. The band did power through a few technical mishaps with with the microphones to create a gateway back to teenage dreams and confusion for the crowd of 30-somethings. Shearer vowed they would return, and judging by their recent output, I think we can expect to hear live renditions of their pop fusions for years to come.
The second support act came in the form of Rosborough, a proud nationalist two-piece hailing from Derry, Northern Ireland. Rosborough acted as a respite between Tremors and Neon Waltz, offering an alternative to effects pedals in the form of heavy percussion and a frustrated vocalist. All of the songs they performed centralised around Derry, from Burn Blue, a locally, critically acclaimed song about stargazing in his back garden, to Another Lesson, which denotes a 4am house party fallout.
Lead singer Glenn Rosborough evoked a frustration at his own circumstance with repeated lyrics such as “I’m tired of waiting.” His autobiographical recollections may be born of frustration, but he spoke of his hometown with a great fondness as well. With Burn Blue being voted the no.1 track of 2017 by Ulster’s Daily mirror, this may be the beginning of an incredibly prosperous journey for them.
The first support act was a five-piece alt-pop group called Tremors, who played formidably to a crowd of 15 people. The band didn’t have any outright enigmatic characters, but functioned effectively as one organism. The band didn’t shy away from the effects pedals, and the riffs produced by the two guitarists seemed to carry the weight of years spent looking out of their bedroom window in the pouring rain.
I spoke to the group afterwards, and they were humble about their beginnings and how quickly they had made it onto the local circuit. Their music adhered to the current direction of indie pop, so I can only imagine they’ve secured their seat on the bus for as long as they desire it.