With their accents being an ode to their hometown, indie-pop outfits Victors, Arcade Hearts and Riscas bring the party to London town…
We walk into the bar, it’s unassuming, minimalistic, covered in black, brass and greenery. Tucked around the corner is the venue. After hovering for a good ten minutes, the crowd is let in and we all cling to the edges of the room.
Victors, Arcade Hearts, and the much-anticipated headliners Riscas are due to grace the stage. It’s easy to see why these three bands have grouped together; their music sits comfortably within the same genre, their accents are odes to their hometown, they don’t acquire a one-size-fits all set of vocals, and they each hold their own unique approach to their music.
It’s no easy feat to warm up a venue, but Victors do it effortlessly, breaking in the stiff crowd for favourable nodding of heads and quiet shuffling of feet. More to their credit – it’s an early show time but they don’t hold back – the Northern lads warm, buoyant sound easies the crowd into the atmosphere of the gig – peeling themselves from the walls.
Victors are a premonition of the amalgamation of electronic indie-pop sounds; their stage presence is quiet but their power isn’t lost, it’s propelled forward into a hazy-lit room of smoke and neon lights. The vocals are incredible, clear-cut and simply gorgeous as they begin to cover Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’. The sound is powerful and striking – we really can’t say enough good things about the pure talent radiating from this band. Founded in 2015, this band have paved a path of success and hold so much promise; these are one of the rare bands where we can listen to all of their discography without tiring of it.
‘Feel’, ‘Two Hearts’ and ‘Tonight’ talk about love, romance, adventure and teenage revelry without the childish narrative; the maturation of these feelings is expressed coherently through the well-polished lens of their music. More to their credit, they sound exactly as they do live as they do on the record. Simply put, these guys don’t have to resort to on-stage antics to get us moving, their talent is more than enough. As they exit the stage, the atmosphere of the room has risen and levelled out, setting the mood for the rest of the night.
The awkward, in-between bit as the bands exit and enter the stage happens within 20 minutes. Riding the wave of the neo-synth pop, Arcade Hearts cut through the scene with the unique vocals of frontman, Dan. These guys are slightly sharp, indie-disco icons; they are altogether loud and energetic. The bassist bounces around onstage ceaselessly, the lead singer is all smiles and vocals… it’s like these guys are having a good time and invited you to hang out; their presence is highly entertaining and engaging. Arcade Hearts are the witty, hot band akin to Foals and the perfect prerequisite to the headliners.
Minutes after Arcade Hearts exit, the venue begins to fill out – the air is electric – it feels as though we’re in a stadium, not a 450-capped capacity site. This gig is a natural step in their progression as a band. Prior to this Riscas have released an array of singles, ‘Complex’ being their most recent, gaining over 50,000 plays on Spotify within the first two weeks. It’s fitting that they are already bagging packed gigs in London.
As they take to the stage, we’re gobsmacked – we’ve been listening to this band thinking that these are lads in their mid-twenties – not their teens (or early twenties.) For a sound that is so cohesive and perfected it’s a true nod to both their talent and hard work; they’ve captured their sound without the endless years of experience. Despite their age, the crowd isn’t exclusively teenagers, it’s a mix of just about everyone you can imagine in the London scene, from your painfully self-aware hipsters to an older couple Dad-dancing in the fourth row.
As we stand by the bar, we realise this is what it feels like to have been there at the start of a zeitgeist. The music of the Birmingham based band has already amassed huge support from the Midlands scene and has spanned across the country with a cult-like following only a mere two years after they formed.
The familiarity of the 0121 gab of frontman, George, brings a slice of Birmingham hospitality to the big smoke, clearing the air of any pretension. He talks to the audience, engages with them in the way only a true frontman can, with an over confident, boyish charm that is both endearing and entertaining.
A die-hard group of fans stand in the front two rows and are the best kind you can ask for, they don’t reach out or scream in adoration, they just dance with each other and laugh and smile. It’s a dynamic show of affection, innocence and a signalling to coming-of-age.
When ‘Panic Like Tom’ begins to play the infectious riff, nobody really panics, they just start to have a really good-fun time. The crowd has become a bubbling mass of excitement and joy; girls drag their friends and jump around to the cheerful riffs and vocals. The energy of the band is tangible, it bounces back and forth between the stage and the audience with a careless, jubilant rhythm that is sustained throughout their set.
We’re lucky, Riscas are a band that we’re going to get to follow as their sound grows and matures with its members. No doubt we’ll be seeing them headlining something big within the next few years. So, have a listen, join the zeitgeist, start with the release of ‘Calypso,’ and take it from there. Calypso, an aptly named summery EP, is reminiscent of lost high-school adolescence and cheap lollipops in mid-July. These boys are the perfect anti-dote to these winter blues.