LIVE: Newmoon / Rain @ Upstairs at The Garage, London

By Glen Bushell

The whole ‘shoegaze revival’ of the last few years is in strange place. It has almost become an easy cop out to slap the tag on any band that knows their way around a reverb pedal. However, there are a few who nail the sound; embracing it wholeheartedly, and modernising it without cliche. Newmoon, who travelled over from Belgium for tonight’s show, are one of those bands.

Before they arrive, the sparse crowd are treated to Swindon natives, Rain. Their excellent ‘Symphony Pains’ EP proved that the songs are there and they are strong, but what holds Rain back is the apparent lack of confidence. ‘Slur’ and ‘Dandelion’ carry a lot of weight, but are not delivered with the conviction they deserve. That said, it is still early days for Rain. The confidence will come, and the flickering promise they have will grow. 

During a brief chat with Newmoon vocalist/guitarist, Bert Cannaerts, prior to the show, he reveals his excitement about playing London. Despite the room not being full, he displays a great deal of gratitude to those who have come to watch them. It’s reflected in their live show as they give it everything they have to make everyone and anyone pay attention.

With only two releases to their name, the bulk of the set comes from their recently released debut album, ‘Space’. The songs come to life on stage. ‘Head Of Stone’ and ‘Helium’ sound full, big, and show off the dynamic composition of the tracks perfectly. The raw-yet-enchanting production of their recordings match what Newmoon bring to this environment. It’s impossible not to be drawn in.

Far more than your average shoegaze band, Newmoon get lost in their own music. There’s no standing still or staring at their feet. Owing to their roots in hardcore, they tear through ‘Aria’ with the passion of a punk band, and frantically thrash their way through the closing moments of ‘1000’, leaving to a wall of feedback.

‘Space’ is one of the underdog contenders for album of the year, and Newmoon are a band that will eventually be filling rooms bigger than that of tonight’s show. It marks the beginning of something very special.