After a big year and an even bigger album LIFE set out on an extensive set of tour dates to cement themselves as one of the UK’s premier live acts. To compliment the Bournemouth date LIFE were placed aside tour support Night Flowers and local legends Bird Shoes. With over 5 years history as the premier live music venue for Bournemouth the Anvil’s degenerate atmosphere was the perfect setting for a night of working-class social commentary.

“Bird Shoes are the right amounts of bitey, angry but groovy to appeal to most palates; having signed to indie label Killing Moon and shared stages with the likes of Wolf Alice 2020 will be a big year for a band with just as bigger sound.”

Opening the night were Bird Shoes- a band of such stature on the Bournemouth scene that their last local gig was a headliner. With that quality of local heritage, it’s unsurprising that the room was comfortably busy by the time they hit the stage and got more comfortable when twice during the set Robin called the audience to step closer to the stage, an order the crowd took no hesitation in doing. On paper Bird Shoes are a man with a guitar and microphone and a man with a drum kit and drum pad but, the pair audibly and visually work the crowd with their charisma and crafted sound to a far greater level than the above dull facts. At times James’ drum pad triggered extra percussion but often played extra layers of sound that physically could not be played but the 8 limbs on the duo. The highlight of the set was heavy crooner Sods Law proving the band aren’t just a thrashy pair, the ‘needle in the haystack’ gem. That said Bird Shoes are the right amounts of bitey, angry but groovy to appeal to most palates; having signed to indie label Killing Moon and shared stages with the likes of Wolf Alice 2020 will be a big year for a band with just as bigger sound.

“Night Flowers are the perfect band to serenade a Sunday spring breakfast with delicate playing and wholesome numbers.”

As tour support Night Flowers left no disappointment with the quality of their set but did leave the crowd confused; with elements of alt-indie, dream-pop and shoegaze they were the great band on the wrong tour. As a support they showed their accomplished showmanship and played a completely- ‘if you don’t like us then fuck you’ set bringing banter, comedy and comfortable ease to their songs and stage presence. Night Flowers are the perfect band to serenade a Sunday spring breakfast with delicate playing and wholesome numbers.

“If LIFE recorded a live album right now and released it in 10 years you wouldn’t able to tell if it was a current Academy tour nostalgia live album or the 2019 club tour recording- LIFE are that good live!”

Although LIFE are on their second album the group play as a band on their first tour with the thirst and hunger for more. Debut album Popular Music has become the lesser known ‘demo’ (factually it is their debut album) with recent outing A Picture Of Good Health taking up the full set except for the night’s closer track Popular Music. Part of LIFE’s brilliance is that every band member has ‘frontman’ quality-the ability to not just play their tracks and have a bit of a dance but the personality to captivate your eyes as well as ears. It feels strange when brief words were exchanged with bass player Lydia (who looks a natural frontwoman) who states that she gets terrible stage fright, no one in the audience would be disappointed by a Lydia fronting a riot grrrl side project. The actual frontman Mez has become the ring-leader of any room he is in, a man whose pre-song one-line repeats are impossible not to get wrapped up in. The band know they are on to bigger things and relish the small sized rooms they are playing right now, with a fair portion of the set Mez spent it among his people dancing in unison (stage fright Lydia later got in on the action too). The sign of a great band is a band that have the ability to manage their instruments tones and sound at the same expertise as if they were playing a stadium; if LIFE recorded a live album right now and released it in 10 years you wouldn’t able to tell if it was a current Academy tour nostalgia live album or the 2019 club tour recording- LIFE are that good live!

Words: James Wadsworth @jamespart31

Photos: Abbi Draper-Scott @abbidraperphoto

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