It may have been a Monday night but that didn’t stop Birmingham’s Swim Deep from bringing the party to London for a one-off NME Awards Show at KOKO in Camden. Opening the show were Brighton boys The Magic Gang, who went down a storm with the young crowd. One song in and circle pits were already being created.
They were followed by Slow Club who, despite missing a couple of their touring band, still pulled off a great set. What they lacked in band members, they certainly made up for in crowd interaction. During their slowest song, singer Rebecca told the audience she wanted to see as many people as possible crowd surfing, much to the annoyance of venue staff. From where I was standing on the first balcony I had a great view of the crowd and the three or four people who managed to get lifted into the air… and soon came falling back down.
With everyone back on the ground, Swim Deep bounded on stage to the Jurassic Park theme tune, launching straight into Francisco. The teenagers in the crowd were going crazy from the outset and it’s easy to see why Swim Deep have had such a great year. Exactly a year ago, I saw them play at the much smaller venue of XOYO and they’ve since stepped-up everything to put on a proper show. Now accompanied by a female singer and a keyboardist, as well as putting effort into the show production with stage design and lighting, the band look like look they’ve been doing this for years. Even the fashion is another level, with guitarist Cavan sporting some great flared trousers.
Previous single and fan favourite, Honey was played early on and never have I seen a crowd so energetic and ready to dance at only the second song. Even in the slower, dreamier songs from their debut Where The Heaven Are We, the dancing didn’t stop. They vibed straight off the adoration and energy, with lead singer Austin telling the crowd it was one of their best gigs. Adding their own psychedelic twist to a cover of Girls Just Want To Have Fun, it definitely looked like everyone was having a great time.
The only slight pause in the night came when they debuted new song Hotel California as their last song of the main set. They soon rushed back on stage for an encore, however, to play Intro which merged into She Changes The Weather (one of the best openings ever to a song) but saved the best song for last with King City. There were people crowd surfing again everywhere, while Austin threw his guitar down and jumped up onto a speaker to spray champagne into the crowd. The gig marked the end to a fantastic year for the band and hopefully they’ll come back soon with an even greater second album and tour to match.