The 100 Club is a venue literally steeped in history. Playing host to a variety of intimate and game-changing early shows from some of the biggest and most influential acts in modern music history (the combined whammy of The Sex Pistols and Rolling Stones stand in enough regard). Enough so that the walls are quite literally built on image after image of defining musical moments, and one that has done this underground vision of the past a well of good in surviving on Oxford Street’s commercial highway. Stepping into this realm is a gambling feat, but for Clean Cut Kid it seems to be the next logical step in a quest for global dominance. Lighting up the Radio 1 playlist with a variety of catchy yet soulful cuts of Americana-infused rock, they fly in tonight fresh from a star turn at SXSW, and boasting a desire to take their music to the very next level. In doing so, tonight stands as a pivotal junction.
Neon-soaked openers VITAMIN are another who are relishing the industry buzz, and their pristine cuts of pop wouldn’t be too far off from dazzling those gathered early doors. These fresh-faced purveyors of modern pop dazzle in their debt to the 80s iconography of Michael Jackson and Prince. Being spoon-fed on such a high-level of pop has done its job, and they duly deliver with a set that demonstrates why t hey’ll be capturing the screams and gazes of a fevered fanbase in no time.
Headliners Clean Cut Kid are a more polished affair, soaked in reverb and a trigger-happy approach to scuzzy rock, opener “Runaway” is a stomping call to arms with a sold-out 100 Club duly obliging. Escaping that all too familiar trap of a hyped act turning in the motions and remaining quite stain in approach, there’s a depth and tangibility to their sounds, immediately generating a communal sense of togetherness throughout the crowd gathered. ‘Pick Me Up’ becomes a more ferocious beast live, unstoppable in its delivery and demonstrating the untouchable power of the group’s harmonies, captivating when twinned with a full-barraged onslaught of sound. A variety of new tracks are aired, sprawling yet controlled in their pop sensibilities disguised as garage-echoed Americana. The high-pitched vocal sheen of frontman Mark Halls is a distinguishing and light presence, perfectly complimenting the sights and sounds coming out around him, especially with blistering solos of pulsating sharpness rip through those effortlessly cool vocals.
What’s so refreshing about Clean Cut Kid is their sheer charm and likability that exuberates throughout the set, from short stories to describing just how “boss” it is to be playing in the capital, they’re an act you really can’t detest. Scaling back from the pedal to the metal array of tracks, the soulful restrained tones of ‘Jean’ showcases a completely side to the Scouse heroes, as the love-lorn ballad pierces in its pure rawness, with the crowd gathered falling deftly silent in admiration. It’s a serene moment that exposes the emotional pulse behind such dominant guitar-laden euphoria. Closer ‘Vitamin C’ is a crowd-pleasing shapeshifter, triggering mass singalongs and a pogoing sea that survives throughout the band’s biggest track to date. Shifting restrains and ultimately lifting listeners to a joyous finale, its a reminder as to just how big this band really could get.
Effortlessly confident in their own skin and on the type of form that could see them take it up to the next level, Clean Cut Kid marked their very own history tonight in a venue used to seeing the biggest and best in new music. Set for a defining summer of festival appearances, it’s not obscene to think their image will be the next addition to the ever-withstanding wall of stars in the 100 Club, by capturing something so pure and human about the modern world.
This Clean Cut Kid article was written by Jamie Muir, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson. Lead phot by natalie.lennon