Live Review: Superheaven / Nai Harvest, The Victoria Inn, Derby (26/09/2014)

Friday night saw Derby graced by the likes of Superheaven and Nai Harvest, each putting their own unique spin on the broad spectrum of emo music.

Support came from Nottingham’s own Bluebird, offering music akin to JT Soar’s house-band, Plaids. Whether due to local following or not, the band’s style of thrashy emo was incredibly well received, drawing in a sizeable- and passionate- crowd. Followed to the stage by Welsh band Concave, leaning more towards post-hardcore and adding a slight change of style to the night.

Despite Nai Harvest having played to much bigger crowds this Summer, there seemed a strange sense of nervousness in the pair upon taking to the stage. Perhaps due to the band currently seeming to have one foot still in the DIY scene and the other stretching towards commercial success. In between songs Ben mutters something about how it felt like they’ve been touring forever now, before launching into ‘Hold Open My Head’.

Songs are launched into with a sense of emotion, there’s a sense of things being in the moment – unstable, almost

With Top Shelf taking them to the States in October, it’s hard not to think the guys are slightly dazed by their constant touring. Nonetheless it seems to add to their performance – songs are launched into with a sense of emotion, there’s a sense of things being in the moment – unstable, almost. When the band start playing ‘Buttercups’, taken off their recent split EP with Playlounge, the audience really embrace the song. With an anthemic chorus it’s hard not to want to sing along with them; go with the moment, if you will.

Once the American Superheaven took to the stage there was a slight sense of cultural divide between them and the ‘local’ British crowd. Fortunately transatlantic communication wasn’t too much of an issue, with most of their set being made up of long sludgey jams. However, the band did opt for a This is Spinal Tap approach to crowd interaction in their breaks. “People told us Derby was no good, but that’s just not true…”. The crowd didn’t seem offended or humoured, there was just a slightly awkward atmosphere. Awkward barriers were partly broken by an esoteric reference to Don’t Be A Menace To South Central, luckily managing to spark the crowd.

Superheaven come across as a no-nonsense band

Superheaven come across as a no-nonsense band. They’d come to play their long jams, caught somewhere between emo, grunge and sludge, and that’s what they were going to do. They even pre-announced there would be no false pretentious encore and launched into their two final songs with style. Heartily enjoyed by all and managing to leave to loud applause, it was a good night for Superheaven; though it might have been even better if they were from the East Midlands.

Ian Fillingham

Ian is listening to: ‘King Ink’ – The Birthday Party

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