Live Review: Fiction Records Party – London

Fiction Records Party

[Crystal Castles//The Amazons//The Big Moon// Palace

House of Vans, 12th May 2016

Words: Nick Jacques

fiction partyBeneath the mass of commuter mayhem that is Waterloo station, lurks a twisted series of arches with intriguing tunnels, one in particular is the spiritual home of Vans, the well renowned skater/trainer brand. It’s this venue which played host to the celebration of Fiction records, by staging a party with not just one but four bands on the list. As I queued up for entry in the mild evening air, I definitely sensed the anticipation from the punters.

Once I had wormed my way inside this underground fortress, I noticed that there was a queue for photo booth with the opportunity to have photos with the “stars” off the fiction label – but I didn’t go there to stand in another queue (unless it was for the bar of course) to gloat and get some photos pretending to be with music stars – no way. I came here for the live music and to see what Fiction records has got in-store for us eager beavers!

But the night was about more than just the bands on the bill, it was about celebrating the achievements of reputable indie-rock record label Fiction records and the talent and creativity it has so lovingly nurtured since its initiation back in 1978. Titans and purveyors of Fiction records, The Cure, were the first band to be signed to the label and as we all know released a series of classic and era-defining albums (Disintegration was my fav!). There was an impressive exhibition showcasing all the great artists they have signed over the years; Tame Impala, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Elbow and erm ….the mighty Snow Patrol!!

Anyway, sorry this review isn’t a history lesson but more of a show of appreciation for what lovely hidden gems they have in their locker at present and boy are they shiny!

First to grace the stage were the band Palace. Their frontman confidently embraced the occasion by spinning out Jeff Buckley inspired vocals backed with a strong rhythmic bass and some impressive free styling guitar pluckings. Their rhythm section was so tight, the vocals were effortlessly displayed. Their singer also announced that they’re releasing their debut album soon too. This band are definitely ones to keep in mind.

Next up were the band I was most looking forward to: The Big Moon, and they didn’t disappoint in the slightest.

They played a refreshing brand of Pixiesque surfer rock with a lead singer that has both depth and a cute slacker-vibe attached to it. They play with freedom and a joy that is great to watch. You can see clearly that this is what they love doing and if they didn’t they would be at a loss with what to do with themselves. The drummer is so tight and controlled – the chemistry in the band is a delight to watch. Songs The Road and Sucker were the standouts for me. The Road showed the warmth of the lead singer’s voice and they nailed Sucker with an air of assured coolness. This is definitely one of the buzz bands for our time.

As the headliners Crystal Castles were getting ready to batter us with their pulsating beats, Reading’s finest The Amazons impressed the crowd with their brand of immense stadium rock. I’ve been lucky enough to see them perform 3 times now and on this night’s reflection it was probably the best and strongest set I’ve seen them play. The band have a hectic tour schedule coming up this summer and the singer has a varied vocal which I at first made me think that he might struggle but on this evidence I think he might have little trouble. The band are improving each time they play –big choruses, razor sharp riffs, swashbuckling drums cooked up with a tasty fix that is both trustworthy and sustainable. Standout tunes for me were Stay With Me (Clocked over 25K viewings on YouTube, niiice), new track Nightdriving and the galvanising rush of Ultraviolet. The Amazons are coming out of the jungle and embracing urban territory with confidence!

Last but not least, Crystal Castles were on slightly later than planned but that didn’t stop from them taking to the stage nor for me staying and watching them, and their techno-mechanized beats, pulverise the crowd and melt the walls with a cool abrasive attitude. However, as much as I would have liked to stay for the duration of their set, I had to leave the arches beneath Waterloo station and join the desperate rushing feet that were escaping the jaws of the zone 1 bubble to return to their safe havens in the distance.

There was no denying that the these arches which Waterloo station perches on possessed something special and auspicious on the night and it came in the guise of a batch of Fiction record hopefuls! I was so glad to have witnessed the birth of some of the hottest talent around in the music industry – FACT, not fiction!

Listen to our House Of Vans/Fiction Records playlist:

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