It’s the second to last Friday of the month and as the day becomes darkness, the excitement begins to bubble in anticipation of the evening ahead. Tonight, our trip north of the river to The Finsbury is in aid of a stellar four-strong bill – one of the most varied and enthralling lineups HIDDEN HERD and Lost In The Manor have presented together so far.
Londoner Aadae gets things off to a scintillating start, airing a beautiful collision of gospel, electro-pop, afrobeat and neo-soul. Combining her British upbringing with her Nigerian roots, the Peckham singer-songwriter’s music is a glorious burst of technicolour that draws parallels to M.I.A. and Santigold due to its ability to be both mass-appealing and fiercely eclectic. Single ‘River of Tears’, which brings the set to an emphatic close, is her crowning moment, echoing fellow newcomer Rina Mushonga with its scuttling rhythm, pulsating bass and vivid flecks of electronica.
Earlier than billed, Swedish alt-pop outfit Avante Black capitalise on the momentum with a neon tide of synths, sun-dappled six-string licks and heavyweight pop hooks. Led by magnetic 22-year-old Ottilia Zimmerman Kjultsten, who oozes cool as the band’s focal point, the quartet are impressive from the get-go, with nostalgic break-up anthem ‘Imaginary Love’ sounding like Hazel English if the Californian ditched the hazy lo-fi veneer in favour of arena-primed waves of guitar. The band’s most potent concoctions are saved for a dizzying conclusion though, with melancholy new single ‘Make a Mess’ and the CHVRCHES-like ‘Drug Money’ a sure sign that the foursome are set to explode.
Japanese dream-poppers The fin. are a change of pace, but are no less wondrous this evening. The four-piece – who hail from vibrant Japanese port city, Kobe – cloak the room with their lucid blend of dream pop, ambient rock and chillwave, something that transports the gaggle of onlookers to a place far beyond the venue’s four walls. Their slew of songs play out like one big hypnotic soundscape, but ‘Through the Deep’ and ‘Night Time’ are the dazzling jewels in its crown. The title tracks from the Lost In The Manor band’s first two UK EPs are atmospheric and otherworldly, combining throbbing beats, kaleidoscopic samples and jangling currents of guitar that charm and enchant.
Alt-indie newcomers Young Native are a rather grittier prospect, oozing everything you might conceivably wish for in a headline act that takes to the stage just shy of midnight. The south-east Londoners were born to soundtrack gig joints with beer-sloshed floors, and in their arsenal they have a plethora of fiery psych-tinged anthems that boast biting lyrics, euphoric riffs and planet-sized choruses. Tonight, their stint is laced with attitude: ‘Stripes’ unites the crowd in song with its Jamie T-ish swagger, ‘Sunset’ enraptures with its humdrum refrain and ‘Great Escape’ casts them as the UK’s answer to Sticky Fingers. Packed with punk brio, Young Native‘s set is one that marks them as a future band of the people. Ignore them at your peril.