Beach Fossils – Oslo, Hackney – 29/08/2017

Tonight’s gig started like any other, walking into a room full of strangers, hearing some loud noises and deciding to get a pint. However, on returning and actually delving into the rambunctious support set coming from Nervous Conditions, the regret set in that I ever even left the room. God damn, what a band. An 8-piece featuring 2 drummers, a saxophone, synth, violin and everything else that could possibly confuse you.

Drawn out tracks that are entirely mood focused, each section changes dramatically as the frontman acts as conductor, making the set more like a theatre performance at times than your standard gig. Whispers become intense growls before spoken word segments, imagine David Byrne had a few more friends with even more wacky ideas. Nervous Conditions are kind of like if Ought and Shame teamed up, I guess you could call it postmodern punk? I’m not sure, I’m just sure that it was spectacular.

Now onto our headline act, the ones everyone has been waiting for. Beach Fossils released their latest album Somersault a couple of months ago and we’re all now eagerly awaiting to hear the new tracks come to life. Being Beach Fossils, of course they make the crowd’s dreamy dreams come true by diving straight into ‘This Year’. The room immediately springs into action, with Dustin Payseur on vocals “I know you’re gonna try and bring me down” although there’s no way the mood is going any way but up right now. Beach Fossils have famously glorious guitar tone on record and it’s even more vibrant and dazzling in person. ‘Youth’ shows it off beautifully before Somersault highlight ‘Saint Ivy’ kicks in. The delicate verses are contrasted with huge classic slide guitar solos and not in a cringey “School of Rock” way, just the perfect amount. The track has been transformed for the live stage, clearly seen as we get a sweet trumpet solo instead of the recorded flute. It goes down a treat.

Bassist John Pena is the next to pipe up after the applause dies down, “I’d like to dedicate this next one to my parents…they’re in the room somewhere”. For a moment I’m baffled as he points right in my direction, only to turn my head and see a proud mother and father smiling up at the stage stood next to me. We all clap and cheer as the band head into ‘Sugar’, downbeat yet propelled, it’s a great bit of downtime before the end ramps up and the kids down the front go crazy. Before everyone can even take a breath, the glistening intro of everyone’s favourite ‘What A Pleasure’ welcomes its way into our eardrums.

There’s only so many times one can write the word “dream” in a review like this so as to not be taken seriously, but seriously, this was a dream Beach Fossils set. Playing songs ranging from their first album all the way up to their latest, we couldn’t ask for anything more except that they come back again real soon.

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