LIVE: The Xcerts / Paris Youth Foundation / Novacub @ The Garage, London

By Punktastic

Between Brexit protests, shitty weather and the slow but unceasing process of replacing areas of interest and character with even more branches of Pret, London isn’t the cheeriest place right now. So it sure is nice to have joyful Brighton-based rockers The Xcerts descend on The Garage this evening, bringing their anthemic, 80s-tinged brand of alt-rock to help us to forget everything else.

The band are just a few dates into promoting their ‘Wildheart Dreaming’ EP that surfaced a few weeks ago, very much an extension of the sound set out by last year’s ‘Hold On To Your Heart’ album. But before we get to hear any of that, it’s Novacub who open up tonight’s proceedings with their more angular, dancey strain of indie-pop rock tempered by layers of dreamy, soothing harmonies.

With half of its members also happening to be half of Bloc Party, the frantic rhythmic similarities make a lot of sense but here, things go in all kinds of other directions. Singer Louise Bartle’s rapping over Tony Alda’s thundering drumming on ‘We Don’t Care’ combine to sound like Elastica on steroids, while the high-energy single ‘I Still Need It’ shows off just how musically tight the four-piece are. Capped off by a more dancey finale, the band is clearly reluctant to be pigeonholed by any one particular style.

Paris Youth Foundation step on next, fresh from the release of their latest single ‘You Haven’t Loved Until You’ve Lost’, the third to come from their upcoming debut EP, ‘The Nights Are For Thinking About You’. The band weaves between this and other uptempo numbers, such as older favourite ‘If You Wanna’ and ‘London’, through to the quieter moments, their more emotive sound providing a perfect segue to this evening’s headliners.

Finally, the increasingly crowded room fervently welcomes The Xcerts as they launch into the throbbing ‘Daydream’, before the set ebbs and flows between the likes of the more placid ‘Show Me Beautiful’ through to the spirited ‘Crazy’. Singer Murray Macleod humorously pits the front and rear halves of the crowd against each other on ‘Slackerpop’, before uniting everyone in a rendition of the song’s chorus line.

But the best is saved for last, with ‘There Is Only You’ and ‘Shaking In the Water’ rousing the now-packed crowd in unison, which only increases with the news that the band are off to record two albums. Ending on a high, the crowd is treated to ‘Feels Like Falling In Love’, a near-perfect emotional cocktail that draws the curtains on the evening. At a time where no-one really has a clue what’s going on, it’s certainly welcome to have The Xcerts back to slip us a slice of sunshine when we need it the most.