Monday, February 26, 2024

Flat Party Deliver An Adrenaline-Charged Set At The Old Blue Last

When I first heard Flat Party’s debut single ‘Fish’, I couldn’t get the whimsical chorus melody out of my head for weeks.

Eagerly anticipating what was to come next, their subsequent release ‘Dig Up Concrete With a Plastic Shovel’ did not fall short of my expectations. Most recently, their debut self-titled EP, released with Submarine Cat Records, is a pleasing set of post-punk and art-rock earworms - and it was great to see these songs manifest in a live setting. 

The project originally consisted of vocalist Jack Lawther and guitarist Rory O’Rourke, but they've since expanded to become a six-piece - and the additional four make for a very electric, locked-in live band. Alongside two guitars and a drummer, Flat Party also make use of extra live elements like a synth, acoustic guitar, and a couple of varying items of percussion. Hearing the synth live really affirmed the subtle yet significant role the instrument has played in their music thus far, notably in the instrumental sections of ‘Not Changing’. 

In partnership with Ticketmaster, Thursday’s show was part of a Great Escape First Fifty showcase, originally set up to offer a glimpse at exciting rising talent. After solid sets from Saloon Dion and Velvetine, Flat Party took to the stage to perform their debut EP in its entirety with passion and purpose.

The Old Blue Last, while being an iconic venue, is notorious for its small stage; yet somehow, the six-man band managed to make it work, and their effortless camaraderie enabled each of them to make room for each other with ease. Energy levels were fast and furious from the moment they began their first song, with almost each member sweating profusely by the third one. It’s a wonder that they didn’t collide with each other more often. Bassist Nic seemed unable to contain himself with excitement, making the absolute most of his minute square of stage space, and a few chuckles were heard in the crowd after he squinted at his setlist mid-set. 

After a two week UK tour in November of last year, and a brief stint supporting Courting and King Nun across the country, it’s clear that Flat Party have mastered an on-stage rhythm that allows each member to shine in their own right. 

All new material from the EP was dispersed throughout the set, counterbalanced by a variety of unreleased songs that have only been heard by a loyal few. Flat Party began with an upbeat track that immediately struck life into the crowd, before moving onto their first single, ‘Fish’, which was evidently a fan favourite. ‘Shotgun’, towards the middle, was a riff-driven belter set against a pumping beat, and it was impossible not to move your feet along to it. 

Jack Lawther’s vocals were versatile, switching from deep and sultry to unhinged at the drop of a hat. He sang tales of modern generational frustration and loneliness with grit and fervour, and his energy radiated throughout the crowd below. During ‘Hindsight’, at the tail end of the set, the front half of the room were fully basking in the good time they'd been promised, jumping in unison and screaming the lyrics. There was something very amusing about dozens of people scrambling to shout the bridge of ‘Not Changing’ as loud as they can: “I spot the words of Camus/ amongst a stack by her loo”. 

The crowd erupted as the final song was introduced, the familiar riff of indie rock-focused ‘I’m Bored, Give Me Love’ resounding throughout the room as everybody yelled the melody. The folks towards the back, in contrast, were happy to just bop their heads in time with the beat.

All in all - Flat Party certainly delivered, and it’s clear that their on-stage chemistry will only continue to develop as they receive more and more recognition. It’s looking good for the boys. 

Lina Adams


Image: Lina Adams

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