Spector’s set began with ‘Lately It’s You’, which was a fantastic choice. Within the first few minutes there were plenty of sonic delights, from the ominous pulsing which opens the track, to a guitar that sounds like a synth, and even vocals run through a vocoder. Next was a singalong in the form of ‘Grey Shirt & Tie’, a slower track from the first album, which most of the crowd was very familiar with.
After this, the band was eager dive into four songs in a row from their new album, Moth Boys. The frontman, Fred MacPherson, asked the crowd how many owned or had streamed the album, before announcing “as long as you’ve listened to it twice, I don’t care if you bought it”. The choruses are so catchy and perfectly crafted that two listens is all it takes for them to be embedded deep within your mind, while also having a lot of replay value. Next was crowd-pleaser ‘Twenty Nothing’, from their guitar-driven debut album. Fred noted that we seemed warmed up and introduced the song with a build-up to the title. He was clearly confident that the response would be overwhelmingly positive, and rightly so. Having had since 2012 to digest the album and learn the lyrics, the crowd exploded with energy and sang along enthusiastically with every line, especially the simple-yet-genius bridge. Fred’s lyrics are a joy to sing: full of wordplay, with witty one-liners often delivered in quick succession. This was followed by indie-disco track ‘Believe’, then the contemplative, textured ‘Kyoto Garden’.
“The crowd exploded with energy and sang along enthusiastically with every line”
Although the band was keen to play newer songs, the best responses were for songs from their punchier debut album. The crowd became a vibrant mass of sweaty bodies for the double-whammy of ‘Celestine’ transitioning smoothly into ‘Friday Night’, ‘Don’t Ever Let It End’. People’s drinks were being ejected from plastic cups as they jumped, and couples were turning to each other to sing lyrics. After building up a lot of momentum with those two songs, there was a complete change in pace when the band performed ‘Using’ live for the first time. Given the large amount of new material which they are gradually introducing to the set, it may take some while longer to perfect a set list which flows and balances well. After all, this was only their third gig since Moth Boys was released. One of my favourite songs (‘True Love’) was omitted, but the rest of their song choices were solid.
One of the highlights was ‘Chevy Thunder’, a fast-paced anthem which is carried ahead by a driving bass line, a thick synth and a distorted guitar. While all the songs sound great on record, the huge choruses feel as if they have were made with a live setting in mind. The encore (which began with the bassist carrying Fred on to the stage in a manner not unlike a husband carrying his wife on their wedding day) of ‘All The Sad Young Men’ was fantastic. Despite it being the lead single and opening track from the new album, the band seemed surprised at how well the crowd responded. This in turn led to the band having extra energy, for a finale which left everyone satisfied.