Spring King // 100 Club, London
Spring King have come a long way since their early days in Liverpool when they hadn’t yet really morphed beyond the fertile imagination of drummer and vocalist Tarek Musa. After a couple of years of constant writing and gigging which has seen them championed by the most illustrious corners of the press and famously become the first band played on Beats1 by Zane Lowe, they bound onto stage at a sold out 100 Club. Alright; it’s not London’s most cavernous gigging space, but they’ve still not released a single album, and judging by the enthusiasm packed into the 100 Club’s rectangular space they could have sold it out many times over.
Interestingly, the crowd they’ve drawn is three generations of music fans, progressing from a core of rabid yoofs writhing with the dead eyed intensity of Ian Curtis through to the serenely nodding hirstute mid twenties garage rock fans, right out to broad shouldered men of a certain age who have persuaded their wives to come along and are delighted to see young people wielding guitars with such purpose in the 21st century.
The record execs probably proudly call it a ‘wide demographic’, but it ultimately reflects part of their appeal; they tug on an entire spectrum of emotions, from the pure physicality and chaos of nostalgic rock and roll through to a more mature appreciation of warping garage rock. Beard stroking and riotous ferment coexist as perfectly as they ever will. You could point to Ty Segall or The Brian Jonestown Massacre as slacker, anarchic reference points, or just as easily The Vaccines or Vampire Weekend for their pop nous, not to mention Arcade Fire’s widescreen ambitions. That’s probably the one time those five bands have coexisted in one sentence, which says a lot of all the influences that Spring King cram into their well oiled sound.
It’s fair to say that Spring King pile into whichever song they’re playing: a couple of new openers are rifled through at manic pace, and are both delivered and received ecstatically. What follows is an incendiary reminder that Spring King have already got bags of tunes. Whatever mood their tracks strike, they’re almost always anthemic; from the brash new single ‘Rectifier’ through to a frantic rendition of ‘In All This Murk And Dirt’ and a strangely fitting cover of Grimes’ ‘Oblivion’. Some of those tracks from the They’re Coming After You EP would feel even more defined if they hadn’t lost the keyboard parts in translation, but presumably Island Records (who the band have now signed to), will oblige them with a touring keyboard player.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a fan of the band for a while, but I leave slightly taken aback by both how good the band are technically and how many tunes they’ve got; unless you spend your days trawling through their back catalogue (and after tonight, I wouldn’t be able to blame you if you did), it’s easy to lose count. Catching them in the flesh is a brilliantly messy reminder.