One of the UK’s finest indie record labels Alcopop! celebrated ten years of releasing  ‘fuckin’ indie’ records recently, and what better way to do it than on a boat, on the Thames, with an absolutely top notch pun; Alcopopacruiser (the label also does an annual all-dayer called alcopopalooza). As far as atmosphere goes this was a boat full of the nicest people watching the nicest bands.

alcopopacruiser-01Photo: Craig McMillan / Lomography UK

The boat set sail, London sights were flowing past and Warren Malia was playing on the lower deck; this was surreal and wonderful in equal measure. Typical Alcopop!; Jack (Colthier, label founder) does not do things by halves and that’s why he throws the best parties. Anyway Warren Malia was playing and he was having a ridiculous amount of fun playing a combo of solo and Attica State material; these went down very well with audience participation and singalongs breaking out. He plays honest acoustic pop/folk and he plays it with passion, wonderful vocals and a smile on his face. Warren’s set ended on a cover of ‘My Name is Jonas’ by Weezer and the entire audience sang along, this turned out to be the first of many magical moments.

wmPhoto: Ben Adsett

Between songs there was a boat to wander around and some awesome ever-changing views of London to take in so it was a lot more exciting than a normal venue where you visit the bar or toilet (both of these options were available though). The triumphant return of Encyclopedia the band that started Alcopop!’s fine release schedule followed on the lower deck and the room was absolutely packed.

alcopopacruiser-05Photo: Craig McMillan / Lomography UK

Yeovil’s finest export played a career spanning set and the entire audience was on board from the moment the first note filled the room until the last note encouraged another trip above deck. Considering they split up and have not played shows for years Encyclopedia must just be fuelled by a huge amount of stage presence and natural talent. They played songs from both releases and their sound was somehow both nostalgic and fresh. Wall to wall indie pop bangers, their entire set felt somewhat important. It’s just a shame for most people there it’ll will be the first and only time they’ll get to see Encyclopedia.

Happy Accidents were next below deck and in a reasonably rare acoustic performance; this shows a softer side to the slightly more riotous shows they usually play. The vocals were soft and the lyrics felt even more poignant, and with the city sights passing by, created a really beautiful moment of calm.

alcopopacruiser-06Rich – Happy Accidents (Photo: Craig McMillan / Lomography UK)

Tellison are quite possibly the best band in the UK right now, this is a claim I have previously made and I will continue to stand by. In such an individual setting this set was going to be special regardless of how well the band played or balanced their set list, this was never in question – it was Tellison. From start to finish this set was magical; hairs stood up on necks, vocals were added by the whole audience and notes were never dropped. The set list perfectly combined old and new songs in the same way it combined sadness with positivity – Tellison owned the room and the emotions of the audience for the full set. There was a slightly terrifying moment when the boat came in to dock, mostly because there was an entire room full of people so focused on a band they had all forgotten about the fact they were on a boat.

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Henry – Tellison (Photo: Craig McMillan / Lomography UK)

So a very happy 10th birthday celebration. Alcopop proving that hard work and good music always prevail. Let’s hope for many more years.

I think it would be fitting to leave this review with a paraphrased Tellison lyric:

‘Glory to the team and all that sail in her’.

alcopop

All photos by Craig McMillan/Lomography UK shot with Sony A7 with Petzval 58 lens. See more shots of the cruise at Lomography, here, or follow them on Twitter.