Californian power-pop band Hey Violet played to a packed The Garage in London on 8 May 2017.
It was the first UK date on their European tour to promote their debut album From The Outside.
Despite being a fully fledged, card-carrying introvert, I feel at home at gigs. OK, the first time I went to an arena concert (Michael Jackson’s Bad Tour at Wembley), and saw the packed stand doing Mexican waves kind of freaked me out, mostly because it seemed such a futile waste of collective energy that could have been better directed at ousting Thatcher and her cronies. More recently, there have been occasions when the pit was all mosh not photo, and I admit that was a little concerned for my physical safety (bruising was sustained) and that of my camera, but none of that prepared me for what I faced at The Garage in London on 8 May.
In all my [mumble mumble] years, I have never been to a “pop” concert – the aforementioned Michael Jackson event notwithstanding. As a young teenager I went on my own to see legends such as Free, Deep Purple, Jethro Tull and Led Zeppelin. I even managed to avoid accompanying my daughter to her (poor) choices of concerts, because nowadays under-16s need to be accompanied, by sending her with her mum. So, entering the confines of The Garage to find it filled with energetic and vocal teenage girls was somewhat overwhelming. Never has the photo pit felt more like a safe refuge, and wearing earplugs so welcome. I may have misjudged volunteering to shoot Hey Violet.
Opening the evening was singer-songwriter Jessarae, who was far better known to the audience, judging by their reaction, than to me. With just his slightly graffed Martin acoustic guitar and a loop pedal he produced a larger-than-expected sound for the surprisingly in-tune audience to sing along to.
As you can probably guess, I didn’t stick around for the whole of headliners Hey Violet’s set after completing the allotted “first three songs, no flash”. However, it has to be said that as far as teen power pop goes, the band put on a fabulous show filled with energetic performances and songs with great hooks and lyrics their ecstatic fans could relate to. Not really my scene (man), but it was a lot more fun (to hear and photograph) than a lot of the self-indulgent electronica I’ve been subjected to on occasions.
Read my interview with the band here.