It might only be Wednesday but it feels like a weekend here in Hackney’s Moth Club. The band on stage are ramping up their funky house and my limbs are involuntarily spasming out of control. Yes, I’d love to maintain my cool by standing still with arms folded, maybe just nonchalantly nodding my head in time with the beat. But I’m incapable. This is right up my street.
LOYAL are the band. Not much is known about them in these quarters aside from the fact that they’re from Brighton. Gigs are sometimes better this way when you have no fixed idea about how a band will sound.
They start like they’re a deep house Public Service Broadcasting tribute act; but the positive spoken word stuff (Light Up) is barely given time to register before the rest of the band join the lone sampler on stage. Female-fronted singing comes to the fore and for a while it’s like St. Etienne are playing a new track for our delight.
We’re not far in and after a shuffle of the microphone stands a bearded chap takes to the stage. He’s a smooth soul singer; I might hear that he’s called Shannon but I can’t be sure. Whatever, LOYAL are showing that they’re a collaborative collective. They remind me of somebody..
Oh yes, it comes to me in a flash. I genuinely think that over the past twenty years there’s not been many better albums released than those by Bran Van 3000. I adore their collective approach, their crisply produced sound and the way they pass the parcel of vocal responsibility whilst they float between genres. LOYAL are a bit like Bran Van 3000 – this is a massive compliment.
Before the delights of Loyal, another Brighton-based band, Kudu Blue, warm us up. In the same ilk as LOYAL, this is female-fronted electronic pop, a soulful and jazzy support. There’s moments when I find the singer’s voice a bit too shrill but that’s perhaps because I just want to be soothed tonight. Regardless, there’s enough within this to help you trial your dance moves for the main event.
The venue couldn’t be more appropriate. The Moth Club is all glitzy glamour and gold tinsel. A revamped working man’s club you might be forgiven for wondering when the bingo begins. On the far side of the hall, there’s some lovely red-velvet, half-alcove booths that you can perch in should you need a rest. A sign on the wall warns that ‘children must be off the dance floor by 9.30’. I guess it’s ironic.
LOYAL are taking this disco to another level; the words ‘space between us’ repeat as the crowd draw closer together. They’ve got a new tune out tomorrow we’re told and the band’s hopes are realised when the audience seem to like it. Nobody wants LOYAL’s set to end but we have to honour our workplace commitments tomorrow.
Is it the weekend yet?