It’s the hottest weekend of the year so far and a generous portion of Islington’s N1 centre has been overtaken by young teens dressed appropriately in shorts, and a fair few Room 94 t-shirts, in a queue that spans the outside of Islington’s 02 Academy. The venue is an intimate one, with two bars on either side of the room and a black banner swathed over the back of the stage with Room 94’s logo adorning it. There is excitement in the air as the crowd filters in, eager to see a band they love, and thankfully an ice-cold air blasts from the air conditioning unit – a welcome relief from the stifling heat outside.
The lights go down suddenly and first band of the night, Bentley Park take to the stage. This Yorkshire based five piece get the crowd going with their explosion of pop/punk, with some scream vocals thrown in for good measure. Singer, James struts around the stage, bathed in the warm pink of the light show with his shirt unbuttoned. You can see the guys are putting their all into this and that they love every second, commanding the crowd and even treating us to a cover of popular party track Call Me Maybe. A really enjoyable set and a band I’d see again.
Next up are Burn So Bright, hailing from Hertfordshire, the band – completed by guitarists Shane and Matt, Danny on Bass, Elliot on drums, and lead vocalist Millie – are a whirlwind of crashing drums, upbeat melodies, and blonde hair. From the minute this fivesome take to the stage the night is well and truly underway, their sound is fun, catchy and undoubtedly infectious; it’ll have you bouncing along in no time. Onstage, vocalist Millie looks like she’s having a great time, throwing her long blonde hair around to the beat, and bounding around the stage interacting with both her band and the crowd – though her great vocals are never compromised and never sound forced.
This is a band that can deliver a great live show, and for someone who has never seen or heard of Burn So Bright before, I would definitely recommend checking them out on tour because I hadn’t heard of them and I think I may have just found one of my new favourite bands. So who knows? Maybe you will too.
London based three-piece The Famous Class, are next to grace the stage with their sunny pop punk. Reminiscent of bands such as Blink 182 and Sum 41, this band seem to be all about the party and having a great time; they really got into the summer vibe, throwing beach balls into the crowd and letting off a giant party popper, raining confetti on the gathering. We were even treated to a cover of Rick Astley’s 80’s anthem Never Gonna Give You Up (which, let’s face it, we all secretly love.) As well as Blink 182’s Dammit, which got the crowd going even more so. It was a great set, full of fun and perfect for the summer’s night.
The final support act of the night were Oxfordshire based band Disclosure, a female fronted five piece with influences like Paramore, The Pretty Reckless, and Alkaline Trio. They bound onstage with singer Tiff screaming “Wassup London!” before launching into their set, during which they treat us to covers of Paramore’s Misery Business and Jessie J’s Do It Like A Dude, which gets the crowd going. (the latter of which you can watch below:)
The band are evidently great at what they do and bounce off one another. Tiff confidently strides around the stage, whipping her long brown hair and throwing herself around like a real rockstar, interacting with the crowd and commanding us to clap along at points. Her strong husky vocals are great and an excellent fit with the music, and being such a young band it can only be onwards and upwards for these five.
Finally our cheeky headlining foursome emerge, and launch into a blistering set including tracks like crowd pleasers Take It Back, Rewind, and You Got It Wrong. As well as slowed down, acousitc-esque track Ignorance Is Bliss, and a favourite from their first record, Best Friend’s Girlfriend, which provokes a mass sing-a-long after singer Kieran Lemon shouts: “When I say best friend, you say girlfriend.”
In between songs the boys indulge in some mischievous laddy banter, mainly of a sexual nature; the word penis was used a lot, and make lighthearted fun of each other. The atmosphere in the room is light and full of laughter and fun, between the band and the crowd. The guys remark at one point that some people may not know who the band are or the lyrics to their songs, and as they want those people to feel as though we’re “getting [our] money’s worth”, launch into a medley of popular chart songs of the moment that “are the songs I say I hate, but know every single word to” admits Kieran. The medley consisted of tracks such as Gotye’s Somebody I Used To Know, Justin Bieber’s Boyfriend, One Direction track That’s What Makes You Beautiful, Carly Rae Jepsen hit Call Me Maybe (during which Kieran jumps into the crowd) and Flo Rider’s summer track Blow My Whistle.
When the lads announce that they are about to play their last song of the night, it feels way too soon. Explosive track Tonight gets the crowd going again, and leaves you wanting more. All the bands of the night played a half hour set – including our headliners; usually headliners get a bit more stage time, and whilst R.94’s set was awesome, it felt way too short.
I also met the band after their set and they were really lovely guys, their onstage guitarist Robbie Coles – also of pop/punk band Show It Off – and I even had a chat about The Cab. It was a fantastic night, it was great to see Room 94 as well as discover some new bands who I may not have heard of otherwise. However, I did think four support bands was a bit too much – usually at gigs I think two is a good number – although headlining acts do usually have a longer set. All the bands were of the same genre also, albeit with their own unique style that set each band apart from one another, and complimented each other brilliantly. So all in all, it was a fantastic night, fantasically put together, with some bands I would definitely go and see again.