Outlya – Green Door Store, Brighton – 22nd March 2018

Photo by Liam McMillen

Interestingly, the first time I saw Will Bloomfield’s previous band, Port Isla, was at the Green Door Store at The Great Escape in 2015. At the time they were nervous, mawkish and certainly lacking in confidence, both as a band and musically. Now, however, is a completely different story, as OUTLYA have nailed that power pop formula. So much so, that they’re so chart ready you can almost hear the middle aged men complaining about hearing them on the radio all the time. There’s something of the arena-sized pop bands such as Maroon 5, Imagine Dragons and Bastille with their whirling, whimsical take on euphoric pop, and it made the Green Door Store a very entertaining place to be.

Safe to Swim opened proceedings on the night, and it’s testament to the band that their support sets, which are rarely different set list wise, remain fresh and exciting. There are many songs on their set lists that are just pure, out-and-out bangers, such as ‘Boyfriend’ and ‘Pretty in the Morning’, and it’s an excellent example of just how brilliant the Brighton music scene is. The main support on the tour was Uppingham’s The Tin Pigeons, who have a touch of a Little Comets vibe to the four-piece, especially with the likes of ‘Home’, which is a slice of enchanted pop. It’s with ‘Sparks’, though, that their sound comes together a little more. There’s a definite Bombay Bicycle Club influence, with the tropical beats in particular, but it’s a sound they more than make their own. For their first ever Brighton show (they’re back for their first headline at The Hope & Ruin next month), this was an impressive showcase.

Having supported the likes of Maggie Rogers and Dagny, Outlya have already brushed shoulders with some of pop’s up and coming elite. It’s clear that they’ve been taking notes, too, as they sounded magnificent at the Green Door Store. Opening with ‘Heaven’, a song that is as ambition as it is huge, they already showed their unashamed pop chops with a knack for an incredibly catchy chorus. There’s a simplicity to these choruses that makes it almost impossible not to sing-along, even if you’re hearing it for the first time. The band’s hit, ‘Volcano’, which was dubbed by frontman Will Bloomfield as, “Hands down the dumbest song of 2017”, exhibits this simplicity remarkably, with lyrical content which saw the whole of Green Door Store with their arms raised in the air, belting along to the exceptionally catchy earworm.

The most poignant moment of the night, however, came in the form of ‘The Greatest’. It saw the whole band, as well as The Tin Pigeons, form a circle in the middle of the Green Door Store, surrounded by an eager audience who willingly accepted the band’s request of asking them to light them with their phones. It was a real magical moment that you only often see in the bigger venues, which showcased the chemistry between the band (and The Tin Pigeons) as well as the vocal strength of frontman Will Bloomfield as he silenced the venue with his high notes.

There’s a nervousness to the band that will surely go with the more gigs they play, but the music speaks for itself, and it was made to be massive. Built on huge hooks, euphoric sing-alongs and shameless pop character, it’s not going to be for everyone, but if you leave your cynicism at the door, it’s a hugely enjoyable ride. With an already huge amount of explosive pop bangers, Outlya look set on their way to be the next stadium indie-pop band.

Liam McMillen

Website: outlya.com
Facebook: facebook.com/outlyamusic
Twitter: twitter.com/outlyamusic

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