A prime ambassador for Independent Venue Week (a seven-day celebration dedicated to small venues that give up-and-coming artists opportunities to perform in front of audiences) The Portland Arms are spoiling us rotten with not one, but three bands. Later on lead singer James Taylor shouts “We’re INHEAVEN” and I wanted to shout back “Me too”.
Kid Luna are first to perform with their most memorable song LTYT which packs a lively punch and gets a positive crowd response. You aren’t left wondering for long what the acronym is as “lying through your teeth” is repeated many times in the chorus.
Thyla is a very interesting band both in terms of their look and music. Lead singer Millie Duthie walks on to do her checks and with her petite figure and vintage look you’re stood wondering how she will live up to her indie pop image. But those thoughts are immediately dashed when she opens her mouth to sing. Pristine Dream shows off Duthie’s energetic and talented guitar-playing, along with her haunting Kate Bush-sounding voice. The whole ensemble works extremely well.
Only the second performance of their tour, INHEAVEN look fresh as they open their set with Bitter Town which is such an enticing beat. The chanting in the background “it’s the only way to run” adds a new level and draws you in.
Chloe Little – or should I say Debbie Harry – rocks the bass and her vocals are outstanding. Vultures really gets the crowd moving and although the song is fast paced, the effort is shared between Little and Taylor.
The band tends to slip back into 90’s grunge – World on Fire is much rockier than their very recent song Sweet Dreams Baby. Baby’s Alright also sounds outdated but this live performance enhances the notes and vocals, making it work for today’s audience.
Past interviews tell of other band influences from Nirvana to The Clash which explains a lot about the songs on their debut album. Regeneration was the song to end the night. Taylor sings “I’m bored of my generation” which suggests he is not satisfied with modern life and possibly wants to live in another time, along with his music.
INHEAVEN are setting their sights on bigger things; March will see them joining forces with Palewaves and hitting the US.
Read our INHEAVEN interview here
Words from Catherine Verrechia
Photos from Matt Thorpe