Saturday, 16 July 2016

Gig Review: Happy Accidents Album Release Show at Urban Bar, 15/7/16 (by Emma Prew)

The beginning of this month saw the release of London-based pop punk three-piece Happy Accidents’s debut album, You Might Be Right. On Friday night, two weeks after the album’s release, there was a party at Urban Bar in Whitechapel, London, to celebrate. Put together by the wonderful Angela and 176 Records with support acts picked by Happy Accidents themselves, it was set to be a great show for all.

We arrived a little late to Urban Bar which meant that the first band, Me Rex, had already started their set. It was pleasantly surprising to see just how packed the room was already – clearly people were keen to see Happy Accidents but it was great that there were loads of people wanting to hear the other bands too. Me Rex are a two-piece, although they were joined by a bassist for the first time, from London – actually all of the bands on the bill were from London. They had a sound that is very difficult for me to describe, because it’s just so different to what I’m used to. I suppose you could call them sort of experimental electronic music (synth and some sort of electric percussion?), with hints of indie-folk. Anyway, regardless of how I attempt to describe their sound it was an enjoyable performance with plenty of amusing ‘banter’ between the two [main] band members.

Next to grace the stage were Fresh, also from London! I should point out that I’d never listened to Me Rex or Fresh before, so it was interesting to see what I thought of them seeing them live for the first time. Fresh are a little bit easier to categorise genre-wise playing a fast-paced brand of indie punk. Singer and guitarist Kathryn had a wonderful voice – she reminded me a bit of Iona Cairns of Great Cynics and Shit Present, except younger and more innocent. The sense of youthfulness is something that really stood out, particularly with songs mentioning school, but the band certainly new how to play their instruments and perform. Fresh’s set suddenly seemed to be over quite quickly but I think that’s just a sign that I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The third band on the bill were one that we’d seen earlier in the year supporting Muncie Girls, Colour Me Wednesday. I remember being impressed by their performance the first time around, having never heard of them before, so was looking forward to seeing them again – and this time recognising some of the songs. They were clearly a popular band, with many members of the audience seemingly just as keen to see them as Happy Accidents. With feel-good feminist pop punk songs, it’s easy to see just why they were so well received. The band played songs from their latest EP, Anyone and Everyone, that was released earlier this year plus the super catchy Half A Life from their split with Spoonboy – which was released ‘ages and ages ago’ (2014), as they pointed out. It was great to bop along to songs that I knew, as well as hearing some new songs.

After three great bands it was time for Happy Accidents – another great band – and I was very keen. I’ve only seen them play once before (and Colin hadn’t seen them at all!), opening for The Sidekicks around this time last year. I’d not heard of them at the time, but after being impressed by their infectiously catchy and happy-go-lucky pop punk tunes I made sure to listen to them again. Before the release of their full-length album, You Might Be Right, they had only released a handful of songs – and needless to say, I’ve listened to them a lot. This being the album release show, they of course played a lot of songs from the new album but there were a handful of ‘oldies’ thrown in there too. All songs, both new and old, went down a storm. It was really great to see people around me singing along, especially to songs that have only be out in the world for a couple of weeks. I haven’t listened to You Might Be Right too many times but I recognised all the songs and they sounded brilliant live – including the somewhat stripped back and sombre I Can’t Wait To Get The Hell Away From You. The three-piece were clearly having the time of their lives and singer / guitarist Rich humbly stated that the show was the greatest thing they’d ever done. Their set included a cover song but a rather different one for a punk show – California by Grimes (who I’ve only just about heard of… but not actually heard.). You can probably guess that it wasn’t a song that Colin or I were familiar with but it was fun and seemed to go down well with the crowd. I was looking forward to seeing Happy Accidents anyway but they completely blew me away. Having seen them as an opening act before, it feels like they’ve come on a long way in a year as they well and truly owned that stage. Brilliant and highly recommended for fans of up-beat and happy music.