Live Review: Average Sex, Preston

Average Sex

The Ferret, Preston, 11th August 2019

Words: Julia Grantham
Photography: Gary Lambert

Walking into The Ferret in Preston a couple of Sundays ago, I couldn’t help but be struck by how quiet the venue was. Having seen many gigs there before and a few sold out shows, it was a strange experience to see it so empty. Perhaps the fact that this well-known and popular local haunt has had its fill after having had busy shows on previous consecutive nights was why so few people were there. Or maybe it was because the students weren’t around. Whatever the reason, I wanted it to be fuller for the band I was there to see: a band I have come to love and a band whose music is played on my Spotify account almost as often as I brush my teeth or drink cups of coffee, currently.

I was sitting outside with my friends enjoying a gin and a cigarette as I heard the sound of the support act starting up, so I quickly moved inside and assumed my position at the front.  The artist, David Shurr, was a competent singer- songwriter whose sound was what I imagine you might get if you crossed David Gray with Jack Johnson and a pleasant crowd-pleasing one at that. Although the crowd was small, it was attentive and the applause genuine. As his set unfolded, he showcased his competence as a guitarist and even treated us to some Mark Knopfler style interludes. His songs spanned a range of genres, with the second to last sounding very Simon and Garfunkel inspired. As he closed his set, he said “Thanks for coming out and supporting live music” which touched a nerve. That was exactly what I for one, was there do to and David Shurr was a great opening act in which to do so.

When Average Sex took to the stage, I felt like I had been transported to another venue. As if by magic and seemingly out of nowhere, people appeared, a  crowd congregated, and a giddy buoyant atmosphere was created. Having seen the band play several times now, it is easy to see why Average Sex are able to effortlessly engage their audience. With their infectious, ridiculously catchy tunes, and frontwoman Laetitia’s energy, they entice even the most discerning customer. Willing everyone forward, and performing each tune with a passionate, energetic volume, Laetita works the stage with frentic dance moves, pacing and owning her performance. Such is her hypnotic presence, even those whom might normally stand fairly still, found themselves dancing. Average Sex are a very powerful force to be reckoned with.

Their sound is melodic pop punk, and they played a non-stop fourteen-song set which attracted more and more people to the dancefloor which each song. The band opened with dumb, followed swiftly by Hey boy, a song all about being attracted to someone slightly out of reach with irresistible melodies, easy to sing along to chorus and very danceable. The thing about Average Sex is that every song has the same energy, infectious melodies and danceable rhythms and yet each song is different too. Watching them live, yet again, reminded me of that unique power they possess: they are instantly likeable. They’re hard to ignore. And they write candidly about things we can all relate to: relationships, break-ups, unrequited love, one-night stands and all sung with passion, realism in a raw, yet melodic package. 

Highlights in their set included ice-cream, using the metaphor of an ice-cream to depict being attracted to someone who is unattainable and that heart-wrenching feeling of wanting someone who can’t be yours. That line ‘your face is like a big ice-cream, I just want to lick it before you melt ‘ has to be one of the best pop-punk lyrics ever written, and seeing it performed live is an experience you’ll just want to repeat. It isn’t every gig that leaves you feeling like this, but Average Sex’s zest and enthusiasm is just too hard to ignore.

New single Erotomania also got an airing this night and was met with a zealous response from the crowd. With its catchy riffs, and steady bass, it’s a song about the push and pull of attraction. A relatable song which was performed with vigour and a fervent purpose. Another song that needs to get a mention, is We’re done. Rare for this band, this is a track which starts off slowly, adding each instrument in layers before they all congregate together for the chorus. Laetitia exploded into song, giving it her all as she belted out the chorus “you act like I’m the crazy one, since I slashed your tyres” and the crowd responded by throwing themselves around and mirroring her vigour and energy.

I would urge anyone to see Average Sex play, if ever the opportunity arises. If you like catchy melodic pop punk, performed effortlessly you won’t be disappointed. Doesn’t sound like your thing? Go see them anyway. You might surprise yourself.

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