LIVE: Moose Blood / Turnover / Boston Manor @ KOKO, London

By Ben Tipple

Almost exactly two years to the day since Moose Blood released the introspective ‘I’ll Keep You In Mind From Time To Time’, they appear in front of an adoring sell-out crowd at London’s KOKO.

Having cemented their rise with the recent release of sophomore album ‘Blush’, frontman Eddy Brewerton breaks his between-song silence to express his surprise at their current surroundings. It mirrors the earlier sentiment by Boston Manor vocalist Henry Cox, who deems tonight’s headliners inspirational; looking towards a feat not far out of their grasp. Disregarding their early billing, Boston Manor are as accomplished as many main acts, following the upward trajectory laid out by their blistering ‘Be Nothing’ debut.

Turnover seemingly catch the anticipatory crowd off guard, not least as a gentle pit opens and onlookers jokingly tiptoe to the band’s soft tones.  If nothing else, it sets the musical tone for Moose Blood who sit between the raw sound of Boston Manor and the considered sprawl of the main supports. The headliner’s understated arrival sees them launch into ‘Pastel’.

Despite minimal on-stage patter, barring the increasingly compulsory dedication by Brewerton to his wife, Moose Blood are highly accomplished. Tracks from ‘Blush, particularly ‘Glow’ and singles ‘Honey’ and ‘Knuckles’, showcase their hearty pop influences, yet are tinged with their characteristic melancholia. This theme runs throughout their set, as the likes of ‘Bukowski’ and ‘Pups’ build a dense atmosphere between vibrant and morose.

It’s this that reverberates through the crowd. Deeply personal yet entirely relatable, the beautiful introspection is written across the band’s performance. As the crowd repeat the extremely specific lyrics to ‘Cherry’, the song belongs as much to the band is it does their audience. The lack of on-stage chatter amplifies the sense of shared ownership, never directing or stating claim on anything. Emotion is wrapped up in captivating melodies that offer the audience a choice between frivolous enjoyment or a deeper connection. Whichever is chosen, Moose Blood present it with an impressive emotional mastery.