There is hardly anyone in the room to watch opening act, Brighton-based duo, Instant Bin. With foundations firmly in punk-rock, they deliver a short, fast-paced set that seems to please the few people watching. Drummer, Liv, and bassist, Harry, seem sweet and what they lack in musical diversity they make up for with a natural ease with the audience that makes them memorable. Most of their songs are between one and two minutes long and, while they do seem a little under-rehearsed, the nature of what the band are doing means it doesn’t really matter that much. Tracks like ‘Eggshells’ and ‘Bin Day’ champion shouty vocals and chugging rhythm so if that’s your sort of thing, you could do worse than check out Instant Bin next time they play.
Hurry from Philadelphia are three dudes who write alternative rock that sound like they should be in a TV show. As if by magic, frontman Matt Scottoline goes on to tell us that this is exactly where their music has ended up, albeit on the shrunken credits during the summary for what is happening next week. He doesn’t mention what TV show it was but it could have been something like Dawson’s Creek or Scrubs, which would fit their all-American style quite nicely. With lyrics delving into the reliable themes of love and relationships – usually with an adolescent undertone, despite being completely fully grown men – their melodies could be borrowed from guitar-heavy Weezer, Nada Surf or even Phantom Planet, causing lots of agreeable head nodding in the crowd. They put on an affable performance as only a band like this can and it is evident that they are having fun as they also chat with the headliners who are supportively dancing at the front. “Are you alright, Brighton?” asks Scottoline. “Are you alright for a Saturday night? Repeat what I said.” The response is positive and Hurry do a good job at warming the place up at last.
When Happy Accidents launch into their first song, there is little warning that they are about to begin, other than that they have finished scattering paper leaves and flowers around the stage. This tactic does the trick in grabbing the attention of the audience, which has grown considerably in size over the evening. What is noticeable is just how obscenely young the trio look. However, anyone who might be thinking that this fact might indicate a lack of experience are quickly proven wrong. As much as they look adorable, perhaps even impressionable, their youthful confidence exceeds expectations. Charming, exuberant and obviously thrilled to be here, Happy Accident’s take on twee DIY indie-pop is surprisingly accomplished, particularly as it is doubtful that they were even born in the 90s when this sort of stuff was really in its prime. With this disturbing thought put aside, it is great to see that they have their musical chops so relatively early in their career, with an enthusiasm that is refreshing to watch rather than annoying or trying too hard.
A lovely mix of harmonic boy/girl vocals compliment the band’s animated presence, which has been captured on their latest album, Everything But The Here and Now, boasting production by Hookworm’s Matthew Johnson, and translates well live. Drummer, Phoebe Cross – resplendently made over with a blonde pixie-cut – has increased her contribution, adding an extra layer to their sound, apart from when she weirdly keeps shrieking into the microphone in an eardrum-burning in-joke. It’s not clear if she does this to amuse herself or she thinks it’s cool (it isn’t) but, without this, her duets with guitarist Rich Mandell are enjoyable, backed by the steady bassline hooks of Mandell’s brother, Neil. Despite the fact that no one here is bouncing with them, they still perform with supreme delight. “This is the last show on our tour and we aren’t going to play again for a long arse time so thanks for coming down”, Mandell beams. Whether they will set the world alight with what follows might be unlikely in an increasingly transient industry but, for now, Happy Accidents are working hard, having a great time and spreading happiness with a dose of energetic perspective to anyone who ventures into their world. You can’t ask for more than that.