TOY (+Fever +JC Flowers) Engine Rooms // Live Review // 20.11.16

TOY (+ Fever + JC Flowers) // Engine Rooms // Live Review

                TOY are a hypnotic band that induce weird feelings amongst fans (myself included), and this is especially apparent in most recent album, ‘Clear Shot’. The show surprisingly didn’t sell out at Engine Rooms last night however, those fortunate enough to have stumbled across the event were in for a treat.
               Southampton based 4-piece, Fever were tonight’s first support act. Their awkward stage presence mixed with their ability to write catchy, indie tunes made it impossible to think of a band to compare them too- they truly were unique. Their youthful energy indulged with the revitalizing vocals from Connor Smith made for a refreshing performance. “I’m a sucker for you, for you” was chanted over an upbeat tempo and soft-rock riff leaving a mixed stench of indie, grunge and pop; I’m still confused now as to how they perfected it so successfully.
              The next support act were JC Flowers, and this London 6-piece are guaranteed to make a dent in your memory. At the start of their set I didn’t understand what I was watching, but about 40 seconds in, it clicked. Their mixture of soft acoustics and electronics made for a wave of new, soothing sounds whilst maintaining a gentle, 60’s vibe.
But their stage presence confused me.
At first I thought to myself, “they are making music that’s to be heard, not watched” however, after a couple tracks, I found them endearing to be in the presence of. Their ‘not-bothered’ attitude, yet still atmospheric presence, added to the overall feel of their weird but wonderful performance making them entrancing to watch.

            TOY were next and started off slow yet filled with suspense. They slid into their set starting with ‘Clear Shot’, and the 6-minute track guided the audience through a magical trip before becoming a brilliant live performance. Their angelic sounds mixed with infectious grunge hints bought the audience up along with them before the true ecstasy of their performance kicked in at full blast. ‘Clear Shot’ was a trance-like track and was a heavy insight of what the night was to entail.
           After their euphoric start, they slid into ‘Fall Out Of Love’ and the weighty intro continued the trip we were sure to be taken on all night long. With an outstanding light show supporting the unique talent of TOY, it was near on impossible to stop watching. Their stand out track was ‘Another Dimension’ taken from their recent album ‘Clear Shot’. The Blur sounding 90’s rhythm was interrupted by the glittery chorus, making swaying along near-on-impossible. Their combination of genres was also complimented by the angel-esque harmonies that floated amongst the heavenly sounds coming from each member. The effortlessly perfected vocals from vocalist, Tom Doughall, could have easily stolen the show however, guitarist, Dominic O’Dair, was truly mesmerising to watch as the night progressed. His natural ability and the complexity of his playing made him the star of the night and the one person who had my attention from beginning to end. However, each member shone through at one point or another (stealing my attention before it was magnetised back to O’Daire).
              It’s safe to say TOY really are a unique band and one I feel a lot of Southampton missed out on last night. It wasn’t just a gig; it was a euphoric trip that TOY guided you through. Their hypnotic moments made this one hell of an interesting night and a band I’ve had on repeat since.


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