A stellar showing from the masterful Tiny Moving Parts sees a sold-out London crowd swell.
Our capital city was looking particularly grey that night – certainly not the bustlingly vibrant hub that the brochures would have most visitors fooled. That being said, the less than picturesque setting was quickly remedied with the aid of a few brews and the knowledge that we would surely be in for an evening packed with music of the highest quality (and a few more brews). Shortly upon entering Tufnell Park’s finest venue we were greeted by our first band of the night…
From the off, Middle Distance boast a sound that you could argue as being typical of the ‘emo’ genre. Pained vocals fought their way to the auditory foreground that was so often threatened by the incessantly strummed open chords throughout the majority of their tracks. A few of their songs had some dainty riffs from the lead guitarist that added a prettier, more melodic feel that would otherwise be sorely missed. However, the most impressive element of this band’s dynamic was a solid rhythm section – on many occasions I would find myself fixated on the effortless manner by which both the drummer and bassist quietly maintained the pace and established a sense of authority that is imperative for any band that wants to be taken seriously. Ignoring the periodic tuning sessions that happened before, during and after every song, these guys did a fine job in warming up our ears.
As they rolled onto the stage, I immediately thought that Orchards are quite possibly the most fashionably dressed band that I’ve ever seen – vocalist Lucy Evers was sporting a shirt that was half tucked in and half untucked – it looked accidental, but I bet it wasn’t. Clothing aside, these guys were certainly vibing the night. They wasted no time in launching into their music which was, quite frankly, outstanding. I’d never had the pleasure of enjoying this band before, but rest assured I will be returning to their craft time and time again. Math-pop at its finest, they had songs rife with hooks fit for radio but with enough complexity to prevent them from becoming contrived dross. Riffs from Sam Rushton on the six-string were impressive, to say the least, and it’s brilliant to see a musician who observes his own playing with a look of apparent amazement on his face. One of the songs that they performed had a breakdown in it that was ridiculously tight and it’s very rare that music will significantly move me at a first listen but, honestly, this did the job. Utterly impressive and undoubtedly worth a listen – Orchards looked the part – both literally and metaphorically.
Tiny Moving Parts.
Having seen TMP support The Wonder Years last year, I knew a bit of what they were about when it came to a live performance. I, like most of tonight’s crowd, would also have been pouring a lot of hours into spinning their new record, Swell(https://wavebyte.co.uk/2018/01/23/tiny-moving-parts-swell/), which truly is a triumph. Essentially, any individual who has the slightest inkling of Tiny Moving Parts as an outfit must surely recognise the innate talent that they possess when it comes to making music. We were lucky enough to see a showcase of this talent, live, in the flesh.
Opening with Applause was a great shout, from the first “SEND IT”, every member of that crowd was engaged. It was astounding to see that, within just a few months of its release, the hits from Swell were amongst those best-received songs in their set – a true testament to craftsmanship – as soon as it strikes your ears, this music is impossible to ignore. Earlier efforts in Sundress, Always Focussed and Dakota remain ever present in the setlist, understandably, these tracks have firmly achieved a sort of cult-status amongst emo/math rock aficionados. The crowd responded accordingly: with aggressive finger points.
Seeing Tiny Moving Parts as the headline act was fantastic as we really got the chance to see how they tackled the challenge of making the stage their own. Frontman Dylan Mattheisen spent the whole night skipping across the stage with an unceasing grin beaming across his face – a reminder as to why I declared him ‘the happiest frontman in the music industry’ after our last live encounter. It’s been said before, countless times, but the way that this man straddles his six-string is absolutely ludicrous. It’s almost unfair how capably he dances through the intricate guitar parts that are a mainstay in TMP’s sound, all the while yelling his customarily sore musings. However, in terms of technical prowess, we mustn’t relegate the Chevalier twins to Mattheisen’s shadow. Matthew’s sandpaper screams are arguably as important as his cousin’s smoother vocals in the sense that they offer up a far more visceral noise that affords the band a distinct edge to their sound. Billy is a champ on the tubs and gave a performance fuelled with passion all the way through to the end of the encore.
It’s hard to identify if/where Tiny Moving Parts put a foot wrong during this show. Sonically, they were as tight as it gets and not too far off flawless. On this occasion, they teased and crawled their way into Birdhouse, a hit from 2016’s outstandingCelebrate, which was a bit of a confusing decision – it’s such a high-intensity track right from the off that you can’t help but feel as though the crowd would have been whipped up into an unhinged frenzy had they just jumped straight in. Undoubtedly, it was a highlight of the set, but it initially fell just short of the energy level from which we recognise the song from. Nonetheless, a minor stagger in an otherwise unrelenting set.
I can’t stop myself from recommending Tiny Moving Parts to people. Crucially, they are able to replicate the quality of the music that they laid down in the studio, onto a stage in front of thousands of people. They also go one step further – the quality is ever-present, but the energy is ramped up twofold. For these reasons alone, you simply must catch these guys live at some point in your life – you won’t have seen anything like it before.