LIVE: Trash Boat @ Electric Ballroom, London

By Ellie Odurny

Fresh from supporting Skindred on a couple of dates on their recent UK tour, along with appearances at the Download Pilot and rescheduled Slam Dunk festivals, Trash Boat have had more practice than most in putting on a show this year. This is clear as they take to the stage with the confidence of a band riding an album release in the best way they know how, by playing a set packed with new material and old favourites to a crowd of hungry music fans.

Opening with the raucous ‘Silence is Golden’ from the new record ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing’, Trash Boat waste no time jumping into action with the vocals turned up to eleven, pounding basslines and an energy that comes with a headline slot at this much-loved venue. The last few stragglers from the toilet / bar / smoking area come rushing towards the stage with enthusiasm and join a crowd buzzing with delight to experience a band that are here to share their new sound with all the conviction they can muster.

Settling into their stride, Trash Boat have the crowd jumping along in unison to the catchy yet heavy ‘Vertigo’, with bassist James Grayson bouncing and spinning into old favourite ‘Shade’ to complete the opening trio of tracks. With an audience already captivated by Trash Boat’s explosive entrance and a call from singer Tobi Duncan to reject expected norms, the air of excitement in the room is further raised by the introduction of Wargasm’s Milkie Way, who guest vocals on ‘Bad Entertainment’. Way and Duncan’s huge personalities and vocal prowess fill the stage with flamboyance, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. The powerful performance is followed by more campaigning for equality, with Duncan commenting on the recent controversy surrounding the Twitch censorship of Way’s appearance with Trash Boat at the Heavy Music Awards for a revealing outfit choice. It’s perhaps ironic that Duncan spends most of the set with no top on, but given the energy that the entire band put into the show, it’s no surprise that they’re working up a sweat. The fans are giving it their best shot too, being called into action on ‘Alpha Omega’, with chants of “Idiot, you fucking idiot, idiot, you’re a fucking idiot” ringing through the venue in the most charming way possible for a chorus full of swears.

The change of style between the latest album and Trash Boat’s previous releases is perhaps most apparent in the transition between the pop-punk sound of 2016’s ‘Tring Quarry’ and the far more heavily produced, emo-tinged rock stylings of recent release ‘Synthetic Sympathy’. Tonight’s set is heavy with new material, and at times the switch between the old and the new slightly misses the mark; the slower paced ‘Cannibal’ sandwiched between ‘Old Soul’ and the eponymous ballad ‘Crown Shyness’ from the band’s second album don’t seem to wow the crowd following a heartfelt cover of Linkin Park’s ‘Given Up’. The core group nearer the stage are still entirely captivated, singing along with passion, but towards the rear people are starting to trickle off and lose interest. Whether they’ve got early trains to catch, they peaked too soon with the 5pm doors, or their attention span isn’t great enough to stick around for the less energetic numbers, we’ll never know.

The pace picks up again with title track from the latest record and ‘Strangers’ from the debut album, the band forgoing a traditional encore in favour of remaining on stage and discussing their change in sound. Describing the transformation as a side step in their writing, Duncan states how they “do not want to disrespect the music that got us to where we are”. Introducing ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’, he declares to the crowd “I hope it makes you feel something too”. Trash Boat close their set with the infectious ‘He’s So Good’, leaving streams of fans wandering out of the venue still murmuring the lyrics “makes me want to scream” under their breath.

Despite the mix of old and new not always feeling particularly coherent, the band do a good job of switching between styles throughout the evening, drummer Oakley Moffatt driving the changing beats with confidence and skill. It’s apparent that they’re proud of the new material, and it’s delivered with an authenticity that can’t be faked. Trash Boat have given us a high octane, charismatic headline show, delighting devoted fans and probably gaining a few new ones along the way. It’ll be interesting to see the next direction they take, and how future gigs manage to combine their style evolution. For now though, they’ve closed out their UK tour with passion, fervour and style.