Hey Violet’s hyperactive performance at North London’s The Garage begins, and ends, with deafening screams from an equally hyperactive audience. To be fair, though, there’s a lot of screaming the whole way through.
Like when singer/dynamo Rena Lovelis asks: “How’re we doing London?” Or when she tries to tell the excitable crowd about falling for this city (on her second visit), her love of British accents, and how she could just “listen to you talk and talk and talk”. Or even when, for the purposes of a video shoot, the band perform the big-grooving Hoodie twice, both times prompting en-masse Radio Gaga-style clapping. Or when keyboardist Miranda Miller plays the opening notes of a hyped-up take on the Ed Sheeran hit Shape Of You. Or, actually, every time any song ends.
But the Los Angeles five-piece certainly warrant the adulation. As their 494,000 twitter followers and 380,777 Facebook fans will attest, they certainly know how to connect with their fans. And their live shows are no different.
The quintet reach out from the very start, whether it’s by the individual members actually introducing themselves, Rena Lovelis throwing roses into the sea of raised arms, the jubilant stage-led “yeah yeah yeah” singalong during the not-yet-released but instantly memorable My Consequence, or drummer Nia Lovelis getting emotional as she addresses the people who feel like they don’t fit in while introducing triumphant outsider anthem ODD.
And it doesn’t hurt that their enthusiastically performed songs are glittering power-pop gems designed to echo around stadiums. Take single Guys My Age. Building up from a twinkling keyboard line into a fist-pumping celebration driven by Iain Shipp’s droning bassline and embellished with Casey Moreta’s ‘80s guitar licks, it’s immediately obvious why the track’s already amassed some 22,497,165 Spotify streams. So too the high energy Fuqbois, a no-nonsense up-yours to “a certain kind of guy”, complete with hooks as big as the singer’s leap off the drum riser.
Yet, while punchy songs like these hint at the group’s origins as all-girl hard-rock quartet Cherri Bomb and may result in inevitable comparisons to the likes of Paramore, Pvris, and even label mates 5 Seconds Of Summer, there’s a lot more to these Californians than power chords and big choruses.
All We Ever Wanted, dedicated to the people who’ve come out tonight, doesn’t sound unlike late-’70s Blondie, its punk attitude only partly obscured by disco guitars and a bouncing beat.
The alternately light and dark Break My Heart, complete with Rena Lovelis bounding across the stage during the insatiable choruses, wouldn’t be out of place on a Gwen Stefani LP. And, with its icy synths and shimmering guitars, Brand New Moves is the best song Duran Duran never wrote.
So, they’ve got the tunes, they’ve got the charisma, and they’ve got the audience in the palm of their hand. No wonder the fans just can’t stop screaming.
Hey Violet release their debut album From The Outside on 16th June.
Live review of Hey Violet @ The Garage by Nils van der Linden on 8th May 2017. Photos by Kalpesh Patel.
Kalpesh has more music photography up on his flickr stream here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/somethingforkate