Laced + Swerve + Malone Malone, The Rainbow, Birmingham 11/03/14
Joining forces for a good cause is an admirable thing. So when Silver Linings announced they were bringing together three well-loved acts in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust, it was always going to be an event worth bearing witness to. The task of kicking the night into gear was appointed to Malone Malone. After headlining an entirely raucous show at the same venue two Friday’s before (which included more people crowdsurfing along the rigging than you’d imagine possible), you’d be forgiven for thinking this set seemed a a little lacklustre. What it did, however, was showcase a band who can perform as well in a spaced out room of strangers as they can in a frenzied room of fans. Their distinctive bubbling melodies have earned them no shortage of supporters or of critics – a difficult place to be for a band so young – but as they threw themselves into the music they were making, it was hard to find cause for complaint. “You’ll have to excuse any mistakes. We haven’t really had time to soundcheck. Or practice.” And so Swerve began their performance. Fresh out of the studio, the promise of new tracks is about to draw the four-piece a very keen amount of local attention. And rightly so – the quartet have come a long way since ‘The Ballad’ was their crowning glory. There’s a heart to the group it’s impossible not feel drawn to. From the self-indulgent solos that sear their way into your system, to the rockstar shapes and ineffable on-stage banter (courtesy of the charismatic Mike Ball), the group make no bones about who they are. Sure, tonight that might not have been at their most technically proficient (shouts of “your top string’s come off your bridge!” kept them in check), but with a set full of material that can hold it’s own regardless, they had no trouble keeping their audience entertained. Swerve are definitely a band who know how to show a good time. “They tickle the labia, they tickle the sack…” It was a truly unique introduction from Garden frontman and Daily Zoon head-honcho Jordan Crawford that brought the handsome princes that make up Laced under the stage lights. Led by their queen Gracie, the band ruled over the nights proceedings in the way that only they could. It might have taken them a while to fine-tune their formula, but it’s certainly proved worth the wait. With their only released recordings (‘Celeste’ and ‘Jade Vine’) over within the first few songs, it was the five-piece’s new material that had to carry the weight of the performance. As their frontwoman swung from the front barrier, dulcet vocals soared through the crowd, and dizzying guitar refrains flooded the consciousness of everyone present (guitarist Josh Eggerton seemed to spend almost as much time regaining his balance on the floor by his pedals as he did on his feet performing). With a nod to upcoming dates and a soon-to-see-release EP (which you can – and should – pledge for here), the band showcase a sound that still proves as intoxicating as when we first heard it. Laced are a band that’ll crawl under your skin and stay there. There’s a quality you can’t fault, an earworm you can’t shake, and when they’re playing shows this good – for a good cause to boot – you can be sure they’re primed to go far.