On Sunday 24th July, Scottish quintet, The LaFontaines brought their current UK tour to Birmingham’s The Sunflower Lounge.
After being downgraded from The Rainbow Courtyard the day before I wasn’t sure what to expect when arriving at the smaller venue, but it was jam-packed – with some audience members having to resort to standing on the stairs at the side of the 150 capacity venue in order to see.
First up though, was Birmingham-based band Plastic Factory. With their thirty minute set only lasting twenty minutes, I, along with others in attendance, were left a little disappointed – wanting more from this alternative rock ‘n’ roll quintet. As they played through their set, they wowed the crowd with song after song with impressive riffs and thoughtful lyrics.
My only criticism would be that with the kind of music they play, I hoped for a little more movement and energy from the band – instead they just stood in the same spot, playing through their songs for twenty minutes, which gave off a band-practice vibe rather than the energetic performance it should have been (although this could’ve been down to the extremely small stage).
Next up to the stage were, trio, LCKD. Described as a grunge/alternative band, the band really live up to this with their impressive guitar solos, heavy drums and a vocalist that can only be compared with Kurt Cobain. Hailing from Birmingham, it was no surprised that there seemed to be plenty of family and friends in the audience to support the band – or embarrass them when it came to lead singer, Chris Hickling, introducing a slower song which, thanks to his friends, we discovered was about an ex-girlfriend that they all seemed to know about too well.
At 9.45pm, it was time for the headline act! The LaFontaines casually walked through the crowd to get onto the stage to begin their one-hour set. Opening with their fun and upbeat song ‘Slow Elvis’, the crowd immediately got right into it with the band’s energetic and incredibly fun-style of performance.
Following the first song they exclaimed “this one of the smallest venues we’ve played in a while” but did not say this negatively in the slightest, and went on to encourage everyone to enjoy the set and how they wanted “every single one of you to be dripping in sweat when you leave here” – something that certaintly happened.
They rattled through their 13-song setlist, playing every hit from their debut album ‘Class’, with breaks between each song to laugh and joke with the crowd, which was well received every time. They even asked people to take a look at their merchandise and borderline-begged people to give them money as they divulged, “we are very poor”.
The energy in the small venue was electric, and the effort and great showmanship from the band had everyone jumping up-and-down and dancing along throughout the show. Lead vocalist, Kerr Okan, never ceased to amaze me as he was constantly bouncing up and down and seemed to be ‘giving his all’ at all times.
He even made his way through the crowd to the stairs at the side of the venue to sing over the crowd, which received a great response from a very excitable middle-aged female fan who sang every word at his side.
This was my second time seeing The LaFontaines, but my first time at one of their headline shows and I can say for sure that it won’t be my last.