LIVE: Cherym / Brand New Friend @ Paper Dress Vintage, 06.10.2021

Only my second time at a gig since the ‘Big C’ and my first north of the river, venturing to Hackney from the depths of South London proved to be most definitely worth it, once safely ensconced in the ever-kitsch, Twin Peaksy vibes of Paper Dress Vintage. 

After sampling some local pale ale downstairs, my ears were treated to the uplifting, punk-pop energy of the night’s co-headliners Brand New Friend. Announcing “we’re gonna do a rock show!” they soon kick off with an infectious jubilant charisma into the lilting, impassioned emotion of ‘She Always Comes Up Smiling’. Expressing thanks for all who’ve made it out, as well as Simba on sound and their van saviour Steve-o, the band’s endearing modesty and gratitude just makes them all the more loveable as they assure us that if we don’t like what we hear, they’ll “keep it off the second album…” 

In a beautiful kind of symmetry the band’s last gig “before ‘rona” was also with Cherym, so – as we’re left hoping there’s not another world catastrophe after tonight – they dedicate the next song to their pals as their glistening vocal harmonies and swirling hooks ooze a joyous, scuzzy energy; a comforting hug in sonic form. 

Honoured to be treated to the new, first song that Lauren’s written (it’s s good ‘un) and a taster of the new album in the form of ‘Lucky’, amongst the fizzing melodies of older favourites such as ‘I Was An Astronaut’ and ‘Girl’, and heartfelt odes to grandparents past (“… this is the part of the set where we’re at Glastonbury and it starts raining and the crowd fuckin’ erupt!”), the entirety of Brand New Friend’s set exudes a wonderfully life-affirming charm. Interweaving a raw, nostalgic emotion with a refreshing euphoric zest, it’s simply impossible not to sing and bop along to their incessantly catchy offerings and become utterly immersed in their shimmering, buoyant energy. 

And the euphoria doesn’t end there. As Derry trio Cherym take to the stage in their matching sports jerseys, they blast into the swirling driving force of ‘She’s Enough Going On’. Immediately capturing our attention with their unique blend of anthemic, honey-sweet punk-pop mixed with a gritty riotous power, I’m filled with a teenage excitement (a rare feeling for someone who’s not been a teenager for many years) to be seeing this refreshing new band – one all too deserving of the acclaim they’ve received so far from the likes of NME and Radio X’s John Kennedy. 

Continuing with the fuzzing, catchy hooks of 2019 single ‘Abigail’, and the jangling tongue-in-cheek wit and driving beats of 2018’s ‘Pretty Boys’ (dedicated to Brand New Friend’s da), each offering blasts out from the trio with a vibrant spirit and colourful, charismatic musicality; sticking in your ears instantly. Encouraging some crowd participation for personal fave, ‘Listening To My Head’, Cherym showcase their ability to create instant singalong anthems. With an uplifting, empowering energy, frenzied hooks accompany Hannah Richardson’s luscious angst-driven vocals; a sunny slice of witty lyrical storytelling (it’s inspired by the Netflix series Dirty John) combining a fierce sense of rage with a bubbling, sugar-coated nostalgia. 

Alongside the exuberant energy of songs like this and the fiery spirit of ‘Weird Ones’, drummer Alannagh Doherty takes a moment of calm to introduce the exquisite harmonies of ‘Gone Girl’, sharing with us that the track addresses domestic abuse; assuring us that we’re in a safe space here. A stirring and all-too-resonant message right now, and one that I’m grateful that bands such as Cherym are addressing openly and with such passion. 

Resuming a sizzling energy with the scuzzy, noughties-indie-reminiscent hooks of instant earworm ‘Kisses On My Cards’ and the buoyant beats of heartfelt celebration of queer love ‘We’re Just Friends’, Hannah, Alannagh and Nyree then draw the set to a close with the buzzing, elevating joy of ‘Take It Back’. A master class in pure, perfect punk-pop. 

And what a superb way for the trio to celebrate their new debut EP Hey Tori (one of my albums of the year for sure). Seeing both these Northern Irish bands has left me with a smile on my face and a spring in my step; desperate to hop across the pond to see more. 

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Y-Control Photography

LIVE (Photos): LIINES @ The Grace, London, 09.09.2021

It’s been a long eighteen months, but gigs as we know and love them are slowly starting to return… Following an epic night capturing Berries at The Grace last month, our photographer Jon Mo returned to the North London venue last night to witness the swirling force of GIHE faves LIINES live.

Kicking off the night, Anna Vincent (Heavy Heart, Happyness) charmed the crowd with the glistening allure and heartfelt emotion of her lilting soundscapes. A perfectly dreamy start to the night.

Next up, previous headliners of more than one GIHE live night, ĠENN deliver an energy-fuelled set. Oozing their immense, empowering spirit alongside impressive riffs and racing beats, they never fail to enrapture the crowd with their unique charisma and buoyant spirit.

Celebrating the release of their potent new single, ‘Keep On Going‘, long-term faves and previous GIHE headliners LIINES don’t disappoint, blasting out their brooding, relentless sonic explosions with a frenetic sense of urgency. As Zoe’s distinctive raw vocals soar, the Manchester trio prove once again that they’re a truly sublime force to be reckoned with.

Photo Credit: Jon Mo / @jonmophoto

LIVE (Photos): Berries @ The Grace, London, 12.08.21

It’s been a long eighteen months, but gigs as we know and love them are slowly starting to return… Our photographer Jon Mo ventured out to his first live event in a long while last Thursday to catch GIHE faves Berries at North London venue The Grace; and what better way to dive back into things?!

Kicking off the night was the gritty, swirling energy and frenzied electro-rock sounds of Wyse.

Next up was friends of GIHE, Tiger Mimic. Blasting out thrashing beats, racing riffs and the soaring sleek vocals of front woman Jess, they never fail to energise the crowd.

Celebrating the release of their dazzling new single, ‘The Expert’, headliners Berries consistently deliver a fun-filled energy and sparkling charisma with each of their performances. With front woman Holly’s distinctive spiky vocals and an all-encompassing life-affirming sense of unity, the trio don’t disappoint, with their admirable raw passion and uplifting spirit.

Photo Credit: Jon Mo / @jonmophoto

EP: Berries – ‘Live From Big Smith Studios’

Fuelled by the riff-driven melodies of Nirvana, the massive choruses of Biffy Clyro, and the punk rock attitude of Riot Grrrl pioneers Bikini Kill, London based trio Berries have spent the last five years releasing an incendiary blend of grunge and garage rock, culminating in two explosive extended plays; 2016’s Those Funny Things and 2019’s Lies.

The three-piece – consisting of Holly Carter on guitar/lead vocals, Lauren Cooper on bass/backing vocals, and Lucie Hartmann on drums/backing vocals – recently signed with London-based label Xtra Mile Recordings, dropped the single track ‘Copy’, and have now released their latest EP, Live Sessions from Big Smith Studios; a collection of four tracks recorded live in Antony Smith’s studio.

Opening Live Sessions from Big Smith Studios, Berries immediately launch into a live rendition of their latest single ‘Copy’, a high-energy performance that gives the riff-laden track even more of an edge. Lauren’s raucous bass-lines, Lucie’s pounding drums, Holly’s distinctive lead vocal delivery and scuzzy guitar hooks are so flawless that you would be forgiven for mistaking this for the original track; if not for the various nuances between the two (“Don’t copy it exactly / Rough around the edge”).

The remaining three performances – ‘Dangerous’, ‘Silent’ and ‘Lies’ – are live versions of their respective tracks taken from the EP, Lies. Recorded for John Kennedy’s Radio X show, along with ‘Copy’ and ‘Lies’, ‘Dangerous’ is the highlight of Live Sessions from Big Smith Studios; an infectious collision of drum strikes, pulsating bass guitar, and distorted riffs combining indie, grunge and punk to cause a euphoric shock to the senses. Holly creates a sense of danger with her haunting lyrics, inspired after travelling home late one night after a gig: All of the thoughts and feelings of walking the streets alone at night and the different personalities you meet on the way.

Recorded for the virtual single launch of ‘Copy’, the band let loose on ‘Silent’, channelling the spirit of punk rock, and evoking Black Sabbath at the same time, with a fast-paced rhythmic foundation that elevates the track’s off-kilter hook, leading into a metallic breakdown that will have you banging your head! ‘Lies’ concludes the EP with a seemingly effortless performance oozing razor-sharp guitar licks, duelling drum and bass grooves, sassy vocals, and intense shredding.

Raw, complex, and full of little flourishes, Live Sessions from Big Smith Studios showcases the band’s signature style and strength as a live power trio. And it won’t be long until Berries are able to replicate this noise in front of a live audience! Worthy of repeat listening, this four-track extended play will scratch that rock and roll itch until we can all get together, drink warm beer, dance, and sing along with Holly, Lauren, and Lucie.

Watch the live video for ‘Dangerous’ here:

Live Sessions From Big Smith Studios is out now, listen on Spotify and download/buy here.

Ken Wynne
@Ken_Wynne

Photo Credit: Cae Sato