Blaenavon – Komedia – 24th March 2017

Blaenavon have crafted a sound that is truly special and have put themselves in such a place, they are on the verge of being one of the hottest underground acts in the country. Their unique sound is truly incomparable and, judging by this audience’s dedication, the only way is up for Blaenavon.

Only one support is needed tonight, and it comes in the shape of FUR, a trippy Brighton four-piece who bring an incredibly solid start to the evening through their trance invoking vibes and husky vocals. FUR’s dreamy melodica is similar to that of bands such as JAWS but vocalist Will Murray’s tones and artistic style of writing hold far darker messages which blends tremendously well with the overall sound and makes for a fantastic opening to the evening. FUR are definitely not a support to simply brush over and make for a brilliant example of fresh Brighton talent.

As Blaenavon enter the stage, littered with the band’s signature bright yellow daffodils, it becomes immediately clear that this trio are truly something spectacular. From the first note of ‘Hell Is My Head’ this crowd are already bouncing into one another and prepped to scream along as Ben Gregory’s darkened vocals kick in. Ben’s tones are simply fantastical and inflict a sense of passion that is incredibly hard to achieve, it feels as though every word is being spoken directly to the individual and makes for a very personal performance. The manner in which each member of the band carries themselves with a dominating demeanour makes for a perfect combination of musical brilliance and eccentric personality that demands the audience’s attention for the entirety of the evening.

The energy is only further continued through ‘Let’s Pray’ which receives an even greater response. The undertones of death and disparity in the track are masked with the seemingly optimistic sound of the lead guitar and bouncing basslines. This is a common trait of Blaenavon’s style and, even with some dreary themes being present, every track is impossibly infectious with enough power to invoke dance; they rival even that of the biggest of disco tracks. Ben’s ability to reach some incredibly high notes in ‘I Will Be The World’ are equally executed just as strongly as their lower counterparts and give the singer a remarkable amount of range to work with.

It soon becomes observable just how talented this band are. We may have already seen just a glimpse into Ben’s brilliant vocal range and guitar solo work, however, bassist Frank Wright and drummer, Harris MacMillian’s talents cannot be overlooked. So many trio’s fail to create a sound which feels truly complete, however, Blaenavon’s ability to sporadically bounce off of one another, and allow room for the other’s to carry the song is remarkable and demonstrates just how well the band know each others strengths and weaknesses. Frank’s pumping basslines have a classic earthy tone in fan favourites such as ‘My Bark Is Your Bite’ which simply brings every riff to life, and Harris’ subtle drum fills are a masterpiece of intricate art in themselves.

As the set progresses, the band only seem to bounce from strength to strength. The audience response continues to grow, just as every track becomes increasingly energised. Ben’s frontman skills are phenomenal and he balances the perfect combination of listening to his audience and hyping up every single number so the crowd simply go crazy, it is no wonder why Blaenavon’s audience are so dedicated. For many in attendance tonight, this is not their first Blaenavon show and even an unreleased track tonight is met with an equal amount of applause and some people have already managed to learn the lyrics prior to its release, a feat which even the biggest of artists rarely achieve.

I have come away from tonight’s show feeling like I have truly discovered the UK’s next biggest artist. There is an extraordinary level of potential in Blaenavon and I can very easily see these guys being one of the hottest names on the music scene. It is shows like this which allow you to truly appreciate the level of talent that can be found in the underground scene, I cannot recommend Blaenavon enough and would recommend anyone to make it down to one of their shows! Blaenavon’s debut album That’s Your Lot will be released on April 7th.
Ben Walker