Wednesday night may not be raring for a party, but Shaun Ponsonby finds a warm reception for Childhood.
Childhood are often touted as a lo-fi indie band, but that does a disservice to the eclecticism of their sound.
There is a lot of soul music in there. Frontman Ben Romans-Hopcraft’s voice shifts nicely between rock and soul, and an added saxophone only emphasises this. With soul music playing such a huge role in the development of rock & roll, it is almost like they are harking back to the roots of rock & roll itself.
Romans-Hopcraft also has a strange magnetism. He emits something that you can’t quite put your finger on, a certain je ne sais quoi. You can’t quite take your eyes off him.
With only two albums under their belt, we weren’t expecting a particularly long set. But what it lacked in length, they more than made up for in calibre. It was definitely “quality over quantity”.
Being a Wednesday night, the crowd weren’t exactly in a party mood. “I thought Liverpool was louder than London,” they joked from the stage at one point. But there was a warmth in the room, and the reaction to the likes of Californian Light and Cameo from latest album Universal High suggested that this could be a band who make a more personal connection to their audience.
Perhaps splitting the audience with Jungle at the Invisible Wind Factory worked against them. The crowd was certainly a tad sparser than we would have expected. But there is no doubting that those in attendance loved every minute.
Support came from TVME, a band whose name I’ve seen on a dozen posters but never actually seen in the flesh. They were actually a pretty perfect opener for Childhood. They showed hints of the more penetrable solo work of John Foxx – the original Ultravox leader from when they were still a punk band.
The band’s name makes their way into their act too, with standard TV announcements being heard throughout the set (such as “Filmed in front of a live studio audience”, “Good morning and welcome to BBC 2”, etc).
Accessible and much more danceable than expected. They just made at least one new fan.
Photos by Vicky Pea