25 Oct Real Friends + Grayscale + Belmont at the Electric Ballroom (London)
Friday October 18th, Electric Ballroom, London. (Picture is from Slam Dunk Fest 2019)
This Friday, WWPY! ended up in Camden for the second date of Real Friends’s European tour. The Americans brought with them two other American bands: Grayscale and Belmont.
It’s 7 p.m. and night has already fallen when we enter the Electric Ballroom. The first notes of Belmont‘s set sound in front of a well-filled pit. The audience is involved, and the first crowd movements start quickly as other spectators simply nod their heads, a beer in hand. But the energy of the band is undeniable and we gladly enjoy the moment.
Their setlist consists mainly of songs from their self-titled album to which is added their latest single, By My Side as well as two tracks from their EP Between You & Me: 731 and Overstepping. A short (30 minutes) but effective set.
Grayscale is next to take over the Electric Ballroom. The band is introducing their latest album, Nella Vita and we cannot wait to discover it live.
The room turns purple as the members take the stage and In Violet starts. The first verse is played in front of a crowd that listens with attention as the tension grows and explodes from the first chorus. The audience sings the lyrics, the pit gets bigger, a crowdsurfer sets off, paving the way for the following. The enthusiasm and energy that emanates from the pit will then only increase throughout the evening – and this, despite the sometimes sadness of the lyrics.
Nella Vita’s other single Baby Blue follows – hands go up, voices are heard and the Electric Ballroom seems to turn into a giant dancefloor. Needless to say, the Pennsylvanians know how to communicate with their fans.
They continue with two tracks from their other albums: Palette (What We’re Missing) and Mum (Adornment) – to the delight of the pit. Crowdsurfs are more numerous as well as moshpits and other crowd movements. Then YOUNG rings out and the audience takes pleasure in responding to singer Collin Walsh by doing the backing vocals of the song. The words are sung or even shouted out loud. The atmosphere is festive and the pit – mostly female – is responsive. Painkiller Weather and In My Arms are the perfect extension of this moment that we would like to see continue indefinitely. But that is where the quintet chooses to play Old Friends, one of Nella Vita‘s ballade. A title with a special flavor since it evokes one of the main topics of the album, the suicide of Collin Walsh‘s cousin. The crowd is conquered and sings in chorus during this moment which is suspended in time.
And then, Grayscale makes us regain consciousness little by little with Fever Dream to end in apotheosis on the iconic Atlantic – the last song of the set. Here again, the lyrics are familiar to the audience who do not hesitate to sing, jump, dance, shout and crowdsurf. The atmosphere and the performance are in symbiosis and we already regret that this is the end. We would have listened to a few more songs but we are glad to know that there is still a set left.
Setlist: In Violet, Baby Blue, Palette, Mum, YOUNG, Painkiller Weather, In My Arms, Old Friends, Fever Dream, Atlantic
8:45 p.m., the headliner makes its entrance on the stage. The musicians get into position and the first notes of Get By starts as Dan Lambton keep us waiting.
Here he comes and the set shoots off. The pit reopens instantly and the voices of the spectators mingle with the singer’s. The energy does not weaken and we let ourselves be drawn into this climate that agitates the room. A few crowdsurfs punctuate the second song, Summer, and Dan encourages the more adventurous to do the same.
The songs follow one another, alternating between the different albums and EPs of the formation but that does not seem to bother the public who know every lyrics of the songs played this evening. The dynamic rhythms and catchy melodies follow one another without the pit showing the slightest sign of tiredness. On the contrary, it seems that the vigor is redoubled, and we enjoy proclaiming these cathartic words with the rest of the fans. On several occasions, circles pits are opened, especially at the request of the singer who seems to take real pleasure in performing in front of the Electric Ballroom’s audience.
Then, the set slows down for two songs: Sixteen and I’ve Given Up On You. The crowd listens attentively. The arms intertwine and the fans unite their voices on the chorus of the second track, so much so that Dan, all smiles, even lets them start the second verse. Both parties agree. The moment is short but intense.
But the end of the performance is already approaching and Me First comes to revive the crowd movements even more. The quintet enjoys playing in front of the audience of the Electric Ballroom – the few jumps and dance steps sketched on stage testified this. You can feel that the band is happy to be there and it is heartwarming.
They will end the set with From The Outside, preceded by a few words from Dan. The singer explains that in order to have a healthy environment and feel good about yourself, you have to start by being kind to the people around you and that if you have the opportunity to be kind and positive, you should not hesitate to be and spread these vibes. And that is kind of the mood that dominated throughout the concert with moshers taking care of each other.
And while we might have had some doubts before entering the Electric Ballroom – they quickly disappeared. It is a real excitement as well as a healthy and festive atmosphere that emanates from this concert. There is also a strong sense of belonging when the crowd unites and shares the same spirit. The performances of the bands associated with the atmosphere that reigned thrilled us and we leave the room with hearts and minds filled by this incredible evening.
Setlist : Get By, Summer, Smiling on the Surface, Mess, Stand Steady, Old Book, Unconditional Love, Composure, Maybe This Place is
the Same…, I Don’t Love You Anymore, Floorboards, Late Nights In My Car, Sixteen, I’ve Given Up On You, Me First, From the Outside.