Transgressive Records are a family who knows how to throw a 10th birthday party – or two! The sold out Trangressive New Sounds celebration at the Bethnal Green Working Mens Club treated friends of the family to two rooms of stunning live music from the likes of Spring King, Blaenavon, Gengahr, Famy, Alvvays and THUMPERS, complete with a video bar and DJ’s including the night’s host John Kennedy.
In The Junk Yard’s Sammy Brough was lucky enough to have a chat with Arthur Yates, guitarist (and dancer) of indie-pop trio Famy, about how it all went….
SB: How was it?
AY: “It was a great night. I love the Working Mens Club, I think it’s a great venue, and it worked really well with all of the bands. I think everyone in the crowd was having a good time; it’s a testament to Transgressive and the music they put out”
SB: How was it sharing the night with your label mates?
AY: “Blaenavon are good friends of ours, and I really enjoyed their set – I think they’re really talented boys. That was the first time I met the other bands… they’re really nice, yeah, they’re sweet. All the guys are quite close, they (Transgressive Records) like to keep everything friendly, it’s quite close knit. It’s nice having support, and having people who believe in the record working with you.”
SB: What was the strangest thing about the night?
“The strangest thing? Maybe the video bar! I walked in and we were playing…”
07.30pm. Spring Kings have the task of starting the party in the carpeted downstairs room where the stage is shiny streamers hanging behind an enormous red heart. This playful garage-punk band from Manchester are the brainchild of Tarek Musa (music producer and engineer/vocals/drums… general talented mastermind). Spring King’s performance is high impact, infectious and bouncy, bolting energy from the stage into the crowd. Their catchy tune “Mumma”, and a Dad on a sax, were real highlights.
Blaenavon are on next, upstairs, in front of an even larger heart with lightbulbs on! With a resonant disco retro feel, this teenage band fill the large, hazy space to the very corners with atmospheric indie.
Ben Gregory (vocals), Frank Wright (bass) and Harris McMillan (drums) create a deep and melodic performance that reaches beyond their years.
FAMY’s Arthur is a big fan, telling ITJYM “we’ve known those guys for quite a while now, I really enjoy how they’re growing as a band.”
Downstairs, we wait in front of Gengahr’s drum kit. Felix Bushe leads the laid back beats until everyone is comfortably grooving in the dim red light, absorbing Gengahrs kaleidoscopic and high-pitched soundscape. The London four-peice delivered a benevolent set, featuring “Fill My Gums With Blood”. The last track of the set was their first release on Transgressive Records; hot off the press single “Powder”, ending their set on a promising high.
Upstairs again! This time for Famy, and this time it’s more of a squeeze as every remaining inch of the sold out Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club is claimed. Some lilies have appeared on stage since we were last up here, as well as a drummer, who has joined the London-based trio Bruce (vocals and guitar), Luca (bass) and Arthur (guitar). And it’s LOUD! The ghostly voices of the opening are overlaid by live powerful angry wails of “FAMY IS HERE”, stuff to make hairs stand on end. It’s slightly scary, and massively enjoyable.
The band steps off the stage leaving Bruce alone with the audience for the intimate beginning of “Ava”. It’s an emotional moment when the rest of the band rejoin him to close the set, one that Arthur recounts as his favourite of the night;
AY: “I enjoyed Ava, the intro then Ava the actual song, it’s almost a climax to our set and that’s what it builds up to. Especially with the introduction where Bruce plays by himself, I think the contrast is great and it builds up lovely, that’s a great moment in the set for me. Bisk drums for us at the moment, he may as well be a fourth member.”
SB: Tell us more about where Famy’s music comes from?
AY: “We’re based in London but we grew up in the south of France. The first album was all written round the time that we just moved over, so the music almost sounds like a rock band from the south of France I guess, I think that was a period and now we’ve started and now we’re thinking about our next moves.”
SB: And what about the lilles?
AY: “You’ll have to ask the drummer, he’s very romantic.”
SB: Is a second album from Famy on the way?
AY: “We’re just experimenting; we want to get it right, whatever we do next. We won’t let you down!”
Alvvays are coming and the crowd are wild with anticipation. No one’s going anywhere. When the self-professed “bunch of Canadian weirdos”, namely Molly Rankin (guitar and vocals), Kerri MacLellan (synth), Alec O’ Hanley, Brian Murphy and Phil MacIsaac, breeze through their opener track “Next Of Kin”, it’s received blissfully in the hot space. The arrestingly sinister yet light-hearted pop is greeted by open-armed fans, who are loudly declaring their love for the quirky five-piece as they glide through their paradoxical flowery and scuzzy track-list.
Stunning blonde front-woman Molly Rankin assures the Transgressive crowd that the feeling is mutual. “It’s hot, I feel disgusting, but very happy”. It’s as if the tracks of their debut self-titled EP are lifted from the recordings and injected with charisma – a truly meaningful and fun live show!
Through the bottleneck to the room downstairs, I caught up with Toby, co-founder of Transgressive Records. One thing he said really stuck in my mind;
“We could have used a bigger space like the Garage, as the event sold out three weeks ago! But we wanted to keep it intimate, just for the fans.
But it’s not over yet. London duo THUMPERS are downstairs, ready and raring to treat the Transgressive party to the indie-pop delights of their debut EP Galore, and even more excitingly, its follow up Together, to be released on November 9th via the bands own label True Say Recordings
By Sammy Brough