The Carnabys (Live Review)

The Carnaby’s honoured the release of their debut album, No Money on the Moon,with a live gig at Tottenham Court Road’s The Borderline to a packed house of their most loyal fans. And why wouldn’t you want to be a fan of these cheeky cockney chancers?

They arrive on stage with a swagger and a laugh, exuding a confidence that avoids smugness, but contains just the right amount of arrogance. They’ve waited a long time for a moment like this and they know they’re going to smash it. This is their stage and they’re gonna give these fans the kind of show their loyalty deserves.

Tonight is a celebration and the Carnabys are in a celebratory mood. They start strong. The Pocket worked so well for them as an opener to the album that it only makes sense to open with it live as well. In fact, the track is so good they decide to both begin and end with it.

The excitement that track creates is only intensified live. It’s an excitement that the band wears on their sleeve and happily shares with the audience. The band is an animated lot and the stage can barely contain them. They are constantly pushing at the edges of the stage, making use of the small space they have to play on.

Singer Jack Mercer has the same howl as Caleb from Kings of Leon. He sings with every inch of his being. His voice is bluesy, but the music is joyous. It’s a juxtaposition that gives the music three dimensions, perfect for both party moods and broken hearts. Also, whereas most indie singers are content to merely express themselves with their vocals and almost hold the technical aspects of singing in distain, Jack has a command of both pitch and key. It’s a part of what makes the band sound as good on stage as they do on the CD, something that most bands struggle with.

They’re also a brave band as they make some risky choices with the set, the biggest being a drum solo nearing the end of the show. It’s a good job they’ve got an awesome drummer who knows not to outstay his welcome. In the rest of the set he charges the band forward and lays the ground the others walk on, while the guitars gently float above the audience with dreamy, haunting tones.

The Carnabys have now proven themselves on both CD and stage. It’s now up to the public to listen.