Bad Sounds are a 5-piece groove and hip-hop inspired band from Bath and Bristol. Having toured with Rat Boy in 2016, they’re back together for the Civil Disorder UK tour.
The crowd is full of (mainly) buzzing teenagers excited for what’s to come. Having just interviewed the charismatic brothers of the band, Ewan and Callum Merrett, it will be interesting to see if they can pull off the level of energy I’ve understood they want to achieve. Both brothers have made it clear to me that they want their show to not just consist of shoegazing musicians playing their songs, but like a “party” where the audience goes home inspired.
As the lights fade up and the audience screams, the band bounces onto stage and immediately begin playing ‘Hot Head Chippenham’, a track off their newest release, Mixtape One – EP, released in September. Ewan and Callum quickly establish themselves as the frontmen of the band through their enthusiastic jumping around and beckoning the crowd to sing along. Before the show, Callum told me that he was excited for the challenge of winning over an audience not necessarily there to see Bad Sounds, and now it’s clear to see from the grinning audience and multitude of phones keen to film the set that they’ve succeeded. It’s hard to resist the full-sound produced by all five members of the band, highlighted by the in-sync movement of the two brothers zoning in on their akai beat machines.
As the band launch into their next hit ‘Zacharia’, guitarist Charlie Pitt and bassist Sam Hunt begin to up their dance-factor, after Charlie announces that he’s always wanted to play Barrowland. The hits keep coming with “Are You High” and the ever-increasing levels of enthusiasm, play-wrestling and interaction keep everyone keenly engaged. As the show goes on, tambourines are cracked out and the band members vibe with each other, undoubtedly surprised by the audience that forms a !MOSH PIT! As the crowd bobs their heads in sync to ‘Avalanche’, a song hailed as ‘This Week’s Best Album in the World’ by Radio 1’s Annie Mac, each of the individual musical personalities begin to shine; noticeably the strong beats coming from drummer Olivia Dimery. What’s so enjoyable about the performance is the obvious contribution from each member – the drum, bass, individual guitars and sound effects produced are all clearly distinguishable from each other yet mesh together in such a way that they produce a crisp, edgy and layered sound, helped by the great acoustics of the room.
Every great show must come to an end, but with Bad Sounds, the catchy guitar riffs (highlighting the band’s love of sampling) continue, as they move into their biggest hit ‘Wages’ as the finale. As the trumpets sound and the feel-good vibes radiate in the crowd, the brothers embrace on stage with huge grins on their faces. It’s clear that everyone’s had a great time.If a “party” was what the band was aiming for, it’s clear to see that this performance lived up to expectations. By no means did a group of sullen band members stand on stage idly playing their instruments – Bad Sounds gave their all, culminating in a performance to remember.
Catch Bad Sounds at Community Festival this summer, along with the remainder of Rat Boy’s Civil Disorder UK leg. Find the band’s newest releases and info at http://www.realbadsounds.com/
To hear more about Bad Sounds, click here with an interview with them before the show: https://freshair.org.uk/posts/a-sit-down-with-bad-sounds
All photo credits go to Alice Hadden at http://www.alicehadden.com/