North London promoters Get In Her Ears have been doing excellent work through their monthly live shows, blog and radio programme promoting in supporting women and non-binary people in music, and tonight’s line-up, as diverse in style as it is consistent in quality, is further evidence of their instinct for a great tune, regardless of genre.
First to take their place before The Finsbury’s thick red curtains are athabaska, who, despite being reduced to a three piece by the absence of their violinist, charm a packed room with their Americana-tinged alt. folk that washes a calming wave of achingly beautiful melancholy over the Friday night bustle.
The night was to take a number of musical twists and turns, and having been lulled into a blissful reverie by athabaska we’re jolted back into the here and now by Nun Habit‘s cheeky fuzz-pop. Mixing sci-fi keys, scuzzy garage rock guitars and lyrical themes including STDs, otter love and having a painting destroyed by an unruly child, they’re bags of fun.
Anyone who’s read Joyzine over the past year or so should be well aware of my feelings about Hurtling by now, and tonight’s performance only goes to strengthen their place in my highest esteem. These are exceptional, subtly written songs perfomed by three talented musicians combining to be greater than the sum of their parts. Hurtling are capable of making you smile and cry (occasionally at the same time) and are not afraid to rock out when the situation requires. Elements of alt-rock, shoegaze, grunge and post-rock are combined with perfect timing, their patient build making the moments when they hit the peak all the more satisfying.
The night is finished in emphatic style by Personal Best. Describing themselves as ‘classic rock for tragic lesbians’, they’ve brought a dedicated following with them who sing every lyric back at singer Kate Gatt from the first word to the last. Packed with anthemic power-pop hooks and big choruses, it’s not hard to see why Personal Best have struck such a chord with their fans. As their set closes with Gatt enveloped in a front row huddle, arms linked, all belting out the chorus refrain of final song ‘This Is What We Look Like’, we could not have asked for a better end to a night that has been a perfect demonstration of why live music matters so much to so many people.
Review & photography by Paul Maps