Review: The Big Moon at Crash Records on 16 January

Crash Records at Headrow House was a really special, intimate gig for The Big Moon on the last night for their album launch ‘Walking Like We Do’.  

The stage was perfect – backlit and with a haze softly bouncing the light.  A lucky crowd of just 170 people were treated to a set that showed how four artists from London and Brighton have worked very hard in producing some very melodic hooks and beautiful vocal harmonies.  Their voices live are flawless, a full quartet along with clean, tight guitar breaks giving a sound that lit the crowd right up.  Add to this the coolest, youngest gig fan I’ve ever seen – a three year old girl sitting on the front of the stage with ear defenders on, waving her little arms around to every single song with a huge smile on her face – perfect parenting that!

It was obvious the band were really loving the night, having lots of banter with the crowd in between songs.  Jules (lead singer), mentioned a recent gig where she got on stage, had forgotten her guitar, the song started and for a split second she just strummed thin air, then made a confused gasp, andwith her hands flicking around leapt for her guitar.  

Then back to tonight, Celia started laughing over something mid-song, which set Jules off, then Soph and Fern were laughing.  The thing is, none of them missed a beat while playing.  You’d never have known but apparently Celia had, and I quote, “…hmmm, a problem with my buttons!” (Just to be clear – her keyboards).  Next, with quite wry humour, Jules introduced the beautifully harmonic track ‘Waves’… “This one’s emotional, so sing along if you’d like to?  Or just… have a quiet moment with yourself if that’s… also how you choose to feel things!”

Their eight song set was upbeat, avant-guarde and meaningful.  ‘It’s Easy Then’, the opening track on their new album, was euphoric and uplifting – the chorusing crescendo of their voices brought cheers from the crowd mid-song; a really cool hook from an ascending harp effect led the dynamic of the song.  Then suddenly and much to my surprise, Fern put her sticks to one side, and from nowhere produced a trumpet to play the middle-eight lead, while still kicking the bass drum, a move and a skill so cool and different, the crowd spontaneously cheered her prowess.

Soph’s Fender Tele was crystal clear and bright (probably because I was only ten feet away from her Fender Custom Pro/Vox AC15 amps that were twinned up).  But anyway, the tone was very Joey Santiago – perfect.  I really enjoyed Soph’s playing style.  No mush, just very articulate and colourful.

All in all the set really was full of charm, giggles and a very happy crowd.  After the gig, Jules, Soph, Celia and Fern all sat at a large table and took time out to chat with a very large gang of people with vinyl under their arms to be signed.  

It’s quite evident that The Big Moon are gifted writers, who collectively deliver their melodies so well, it almost defies description, at least for this writer.  They’re definitely redressing the balance as regards the music industry still often being labelled “a boys’ club”.  I wouldn’t be surprised if their second album is also a Mercury Prize nominee for 2020.  

You can catch The Big Moon supporting Bombay Bicycle Club at The O2 Academy on Sat 25th January. 

 All photographs by Erin Cooper-Jones, working with Mark Wheelwright.

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