“I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but that was a pretty fucking good catch!”
Those are the words of Charly Bliss’ lead vocalist Eva Hendricks after handling a guitar drop only two songs into their first ever London show at The Old Blue Last, but they end up summing up the overall sense of celebration surrounding the night nicely.
The New York power pop quartet are fresh to the other side of the Atlantic – their first set overseas was the night before at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach – and there’s an aura of excitement at this landmark: from both the crowd and the band.
The set is filled with the 90s revivalist rock that has won Charly Bliss a tonne of plaudits on release of their debut album Guppy, which arrived earlier in the year. The band doesn’t mess around in stomping their authority on the room: they start off with two of the strongest songs on the album – ‘Percolator’ and ‘Westermarck’ – and even manage to dive into their 2014 EP Soft Serve, with ‘Urge To Purge’ in particular serving strong reactions.
Charly Bliss’ brand of punchy percussive backbones and danceable melodies perfectly suit the cozy atmosphere in the upstairs of Old Blue Last. There are plenty of bobbing heads and fist-pumping from the crowd, and the band’s onstage party antics threaten to spill over. At various points in the night, Hendricks, bassist Dan Shure and guitarist Spencer Fox break out into mini play-fights against each other, where they end up pushing one another with their heads and backs without missing a beat.
Hendricks reputation precedes her: she reaches for the sky as if she’s announcing her arrival to the world during “Black Hole” commands the stage with an array of eye-catching body spasms along with a vocal delivery that is as powerful as it is sugary sweet.
It’s amazing to see a band genuinely enjoying the moment and act of playing live as much as or even more than their audience. Here’s to hoping Charly Bliss continue their mission of bringing their unique flavour of “bubble-grunge” to the masses while enjoying every moment.