- Birmingham five-piece, Ivory Wave, headlined the Sunflower Lounge on Saturday February 13th
- Stourbridge quartet, The Novus, opened the night with a crystal-clear passion for playing their music to an eager crowd
- Birmingham duo, SOCIAL STATE, filled in the gap with a memorable indie set
There’s something about a Saturday night gig that promises to be a good one and with the combination of the weekend and three fantastically enthusiastic bands, the buzz was inevitable. Opening the night at The Sunflower Lounge was The Novus and, with just one single called ‘Dive’ released, it was difficult for the crowd to know what to expect. However, the all-male group lived up to their established bio of ‘funk punk indie s**t’ with their catchy basslines and sounds similar to indie-rock bands Foals and Kings of Leon. With their eager spirit and the promise of new music and more Birmingham appearances this year, the room was well and truly warmed up for the night.
Following The Novus was SOCIAL STATE, the unique local male duo. Another emerging band that, by the time their set was finished, had set serious expectations for the next gig to come. Describing themselves as ‘two teenagers making fat tunes’, the pair made it clear that they are not something to be underestimated as they intertwined rap lines in between an infectious indie sound. With their similarities to Jamie T bringing nostalgia to the gig-goers, it is evident this is a seriously easy and relatable band to listen to. Their latest single, ‘Girl!’, finished the session on a high with the lead singer parading through the middle of the crowd on a fan’s shoulders, much like a humble lap of honour to bring their triumphant set to a close.
By this point, it was evident that The Sunflower Lounge’s intimate feel was perfect for what each band had planned, and next up was Ivory Wave to give the people what they came for. The group’s psychedelic sound was a breath of fresh air with their newest single ‘Separate Beat’ being reminiscent of the likes of The Stone Roses. The 90s beats perfectly matched their retro denim look and energy about the stage.
The lead singer, George Johnson, owned the space like it was his own, reeling off the band’s anthemic choruses with confidence, character and memorable British swagger. Each track highlighted a different influence for Ivory Wave with nuances of indie-rock group Kasabian, and sounds alike fellow Birmingham band, The Twang, who they supported just last month. Although the dreamy, spacey sounds in ‘Young Blood’ brings fans to think of local band, Swim Deep, their lyrics in other tracks show us different, that they don’t just focus on the cliche escapes a lot of younger groups do: ‘get your head out the clouds, and get your feet on the ground.’
‘Paradise’ is another song with nostalgic echoes, electronic hip-hop beats and more lyrics like ‘if you pull yourself together, look what you could do’ that reflect Ivory Wave’s own passion for their future, confirming a promise for a lot more to come. Finishing with fan favourite ‘Club’, proved a fantastic move from the funky five-piece with the crowd storming the stage to join the musicians for their final track of the night. The lead singer climbed on top of the speaker to get a good look at the mosh-pit forming among the now really lively crowd before demanding everybody sing back the words to him.
The final image the packed out venue was left with was one of a stage of thirty-odd people, including Ivory Wave themselves, jumping up and down chanting the words to disco rock track ‘Club’ with nothing but excitement for the moment. With a guaranteed bright future ahead, keep your eye out for these five making Birmingham groovier with every appearance.
Photographs by Paul Reynolds