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I was going to write this post in the early hours of the morning after returning from Bristol but now I have slept on it in hopes to string my messy thoughts together.
Last night, I watched Moose Blood in the O2 Academy, Bristol — one of my favourite venues; reminiscent of Brixton Academy, which is my all-time favourite. Thankfully, this was another one of those gigs that overwhelms you as you stand, sardined next to strangers that you could only expect to be friends. It was a gig that left me emotional and stunned not only by the band’s performance, but the atmosphere created by the crowd going “fucking wild” (as said by the support act The Dangerous Summer who were also very impressive).
Usually, I am entertained when the band in front of me jokes with the crowd and builds some form of rapport through head-banging and jumping. I am also entertained when they are solely there to perform their music, their child. Moose Blood were humbled, thankful and quiet. But graceful in that sense and it truly makes an impact. They were not embarrassed or afraid to make mistakes — although very few — when the drummer forgot the beginning of a new song, they simply laughed and tried again. This is real life. If the performance is too slick, you lose all sense of emotion.
Stylistically, this band are ‘emo’. Take it how you will, but their songs face matters that are not the most uplifting and (although it doesn’t mean a lot nowadays) they dress in black — minus the eyeliner. But with the way their songs are written, the crowd could sing every line and so the energy created in the pit, filled in any ‘lifelessness’ from the band. You could see that every movement, every note sung and drum hit, meant a lot to them. Album three release day would be one to remember. They have achieved. By playing these shows, they are giving their fans what they want. Not some flashy stage show (although their aesthetic and good looks are on point) but heartfelt, gorgeous songs that seem to pick you up and hug you as you scream every word.
Weirdly, I found this band at a very strange time in my life which I think is why this gig had such an impact on me. At times, I just stood in the crowd and closed my eyes completely taken aback by the atmosphere, the lyrics and the noise. Other times, I would jump and sing and hug random strangers. Gigs like that are to be enjoyed with an open mind. The all-inclusivity, the like-minded people, the electricity that is felt between every sweaty body that gathers. It can remind you that regardless of everything else that goes on outside the walls of the venue, life is good and people will always come together to celebrate such art. You can also attach new memories to such art… to the bands, to the songs, the lyrics that once meant something to you — these can all mean something else. I was so elated, I couldn’t take the smile off my face because I was surrounded by some of my closest friends, listening to some of the most beautiful songs at full volume. I could feel the bass rumble my feet and the sound waves move my hair. Perhaps this isn’t good for my ears, but it’s good for my soul.
I like the kind of gigs that you go to without an opinion… you don’t know what’s going to happen, how the crowd may behave because after all, the atmosphere is usually the most exhilarating part. I went to see Moose Blood with only excitement to watch a band that I had known of for a while, but loved for only months and now — as I have returned — I haven’t been able to stop listening to them, over and over again. Hearing the stories they tell in a whole new light and falling in love with the band as people, not just for the songs. That is when you know the gig you have witnessed as made a big impact on you. Those are the gigs you should cherish.
For future listening:
HERE ARE MY TOP PICKS
Or, click here to listen to the entire discography and make up your own mind.
'I Don't Think I Can Do This Anymore'
Visit Newsstand.com to purchase the Moose Blood issue of Kerrang! The feature story is heartfelt and an interesting read!