LIVE: Mom Jeans, Oso Oso @ Electric Ballroom, London

By Aaron Jackson

It’s Saturday night, and the capital city is positively buzzing. There’s even more reasons than usual to pay London a visit on this particular weekend. Whether it was celebrating the football league cup final at Wembley, catching the rugby on the telly in the pub, or watching a Californian four-piece play happy-sad songs for an hour and a bit, there is something on for everyone. Camden’s iconic Electric Ballroom held the stage for the aforementioned quartet as Mom Jeans faced a sold-out crowd on the one-year anniversary of their latest LP ‘Sweet Tooth’.

Joining the headliners through the tour’s entirety is Jade Lilitri’s Oso Oso. In a similar boat to Mom Jeans, Oso Oso had also released some of their finest work in the year prior. With ‘sore thumb’ under their belts, their brand of emo has Lilitri’s glittery musings at its core but is bolstered by rich instrumental textures. The gorgeous bass tones first emphasised in ‘computer exploder’ continue to catch the ear at various points in the set and made it apparent that Oso Oso are far more than a one-man band. A decent portion of the crowd were already singing along, but Lilitri and company gave above and beyond to ensure that even more will be on board next time around.

With the crowd suitably warmed, there are no bells and whistles to Mom Jeans making their entrance. In fact, they almost crawled into one of emo’s quintessential anthems – ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. My GPA’. Perhaps as close to a power ballad as you’ll find in the Mom Jeans discography, it initially strikes as a bizarre set opener. However, it doesn’t take long for moustachioed frontman Eric Butler to whip out the brass to mass approval from the crowd. Now, every voice is chanting in perfect catharsis with the trombone, harnessing a communal atmosphere.

Following up an old favourite with a new number, the energy is amped up when the band launch into their newest record’s eponymous opener. It must be incredibly validating for artists when their fresh material is met with as much passion as the tried and tested hits, and that was precisely the case here. ‘What’s Up?’ was the strongest single on offer from last year’s LP and the crowd responds to its performance with the dynamism that a chorus that infectious deserves.

Similarly, ‘Circus Clown’ is a newer cut that landed particularly well. It’s delivered with a heightened energy in comparison to the studio version and it’s plain to see wherein the catalyst for this spirit lies. Bassist, vocalist and hype man Sam Kless regularly fulfills his due diligence in whipping the crowd into a frenzy to match the burst of urgency that’s often injected into Mom Jeans’ music. That said, regardless of the ebbing and flowing pace, everyone in the room remains on the same page all night.

Again, this lends itself to the overarching community vibe that seems to naturally cultivate throughout the show. Emotions run at their rawest in the nostalgic run-throughs of tracks from 2016’s debut ‘Best Buds’; the likes of ‘Death Cup’, ‘Danger Can’t’ and ‘*Sobs Quietly*’ may sound less intimate in this setting, but the feelings they elicit hit much the same. Naturally, the evening climaxes with the timeless ‘Edward 40hands’, every word of which is screamed back at the band, including the famous ‘Bob’s Burgers’ bit from the intro – a testament to just how frequently fans have listened to this band’s craft.

Perhaps to the dismay of the more ardent merrymakers out there, it was a relatively early night, with events wrapping up around 9:30 PM. There’s no rest for the wicked, however, with Mom Jeans already booked in for the Sad Summer Festival 2023 joining contemporaries Hot Mulligan and Stand Atlantic amongst others. It may be a bit of a wait to catch this lot in Blighty again but, if this tour is anything to go by, rest assured it’ll be a sweet treat when they do return.