In the sleekly dark gig room of the Hoxton Bar and Grill, POP is the order of the night (..alongside lots of pizza, the smell of which wafts through from the restaurant area of the venue). Despite both bands being chiefly made up of quite a traditional line-up, guitar + bass + drums, the overall sound and expression of influences derives much more from mainstream pop. Done as tastefully as this however, with a veneer of indie cool, both sets go down a treat.
King No-One are first up. King No-One look like a band. King No-One enjoy being a band. These points may seem silly or obvious, but it’s surprising how rarely you see an emerging artist look so comfortable in their skin, which KNO definitely do. A sharp melodic and rhythmic set promises a lot. Multiple and varied reference points are touched on, resulting in a kind of twenty-tens indie x 80s synth band crossover. It’s one part Pet Shop Boys // Wham // The Human League (entirely meant as a compliment) and one part Nothing But Thieves // THE 1975 // High Tyde. Backing vocal ‘Huh!’s, and sexy falsetto from lead singer, Zach Lount (who’s act I’d describe as disco-Morrissey) bring a great party vibe.
Headliners Transviolet have come all the way from across the pond, and announce that this is their first time playing in London. This revelation naturally causes a cheer, chiefly because the audience knows that this is probably the only chance they’ll get to see this band in such an intimate setting. Sooner rather than later, this band will be as big as their expansive symphonic songs.
A tight 40-minute set of concisely packaged tunes, opened by recent single ‘Bloodstream’, contains massive hooks and invigorating beats, and is a great taster of what’s to come from Transviolet. Frontwoman Sarah McTaggart naturally draws the most attention. Her movements to the music are by turns commandingly controlled and excitingly carefree, all the while she is delivering cutting vocals that bind the tunes together.
Being a free show, perhaps not everyone in the venue has ‘invested’ a huge amount in the performance at the start, but by the end the entire crowd is in thrall to McTaggart and co. And whilst some bands race out of the traps and drop some of their biggest tunes in the set early doors, there’s no front-loading in this sense from Transviolet, who save their two most well-know and anthemic tunes for the end. ‘New Bohemia’ and the Katy Perry endorsed tale of innocence ‘Girls Your Age’, both are thrilling high points in an overall electric performance.