Flyte – Patterns – 16th September 2017

Flyte are somewhat an anomaly of a band. They’ve been together for three years now, they’re signed to a huge label in Island Records and they’ve got a pretty ardent fan-base, but they’ve never really made it to the ‘big time’. This is partly due to the lack of a huge single, the sort that gets airtime on the big radio stations, and their show at Brighton’s Patterns made that glaringly obvious.

Brighton’s Bess Atwell opened the show to a fairly impressive crowd, considering her early timeslot. Her voice is reminiscent of both Maggie Rogers and Lucy Rose but, with a full live band, she becomes a completely different proposition. Think early Garbage or The Cranberries and you’ll find her soft 90s grunge sound.

Next up were MarthaGunn playing their first Brighton show since The Great Escape. Lead singer Abi Woodman is a real powerhouse, both in terms of presence and vocals. She has an operatic quality to her voice and comparisons with Queen are inevitable. Their 70s Americana style, however, begins to grate and it’s clear to see that Woodman is the strongest part of the band.

Arriving onstage around nine, Flyte started off really strongly. Lead singer Will Taylor stated that he was excited by his band’s debut album and that, “it was an honour to play it to people”. Opening with ‘Victoria Falls’ and ‘Echoes’ showcased the band at their best. Their more indie, synthy-pop is mightily catchy and their choruses have a punch that had the crowd singing along. Likewise, recent singles ‘Cathy Come Home’ and set-closer ‘Faithless’ revealed that Flyte have melody and infectious pop down to a tee. Another highlight was their cover of Alvvays’ ‘Archie, Marry Me’. The Loved Ones’ album closer is excellent live with Taylor’s isolated, icy vocals gaining one of the best reactions of the night. You could sense the awe in the silent room.

Midway through their set, the charming Taylor declared that Flyte were “not a very good Saturday night band” and in many ways this is where their show, and indeed their album, fell apart. Songs such as ‘Little White Lies’, ‘We Are the Rain’ and ‘Spiral’ are so saccharine and sickly sweet that they’d make even the most sentimental person switch off. In addition, for a band with as much experience as Flyte, they don’t seem too confident in and of themselves. A nadir to the evening was at the end of their main set where they told the crowd they were due to do an encore and almost asked for cheers rather than waiting for a more organic response. For a successful band of the calibre of Flyte, four years into their fledgling careers, it was awkward to see them so self-deprecating of their abilities.

In many ways, Flyte are a band of two halves. One half is full of great indie-pop that is genuinely exciting and in some ways innovative, and the other half is vapid, slow and features sticky ballads that are innocuous and insipid. They seem to have really found their audience as they made people increasingly happy and emotional as the set galloped on. Those fans are in luck, too, with Taylor suggesting that “we’re going to keep going like The Rolling Stones”. Flyte are most certainly not a band for everyone, but for their fans they really seem to be the loved ones.

Liam McMillen

Read our review of Flyte’s debut album, The Loved Ones here: