This show was not your ordinary show. Instead of having a support band, there were a couple of DJs playing before the main set, meaning that this gig really was all focused upon the headline band. This is the second time I’ve seen No Devotion, the first being when I attended their first show in Cardiff back in July, and despite the fact that they played the exact same set as the first time around, it was obvious how much they’ve developed in the last six months of their existence.
Starting off with ‘Night Drive’ was still a brave decision, throwing a basically unknown song out into the ether, and following it up with ‘Eyeshadow’ got the crowd moving a little bit more, but vocalist Geoff Rickly couldn’t have said it better when he said that the set starting at 8:30pm might have been a little bit early, going so far as to say “If we were two more drinks in, we would probably start again”. But despite the fact that the crowd weren’t necessarily warmed up, the band were still playing brilliantly. ‘Addition’ and ‘I Want To Be Your God’ are still encapsulating in a way that most songs aren’t, and the promise of an album released before the end of the year is extremely exciting, because it’s going to be filled with amazing material.
Following the departure of drummer Luke Johnson, announced at the beginning of this month, it would have been easy for the band to get disheartened again, but now more than ever you could feel the visceral passion emanating from every member that filled the tiny club stage. Geoff stepping off stage for the band to perform ‘Death Rattle’ was still a highly emotional moment, perhaps even more so because of the intimate size of the venue, and you could see the pain still plastered over all of the members faces: not in a fake way, obviously put on for the performance, but so, so real. Even touring drummer Philip Jenkins, of Kids In Glass Houses fame, was so obviously moved by the raw, passionate instrumental, and that is a moment that I’m not going to forget for a very long time.
‘Stay’, the first single that No Devotion released, obviously received the best reaction of the evening, with the crowd throwing everything they had into it, but losing song ‘Grand Central Station’ – the song that Geoff proclaimed as his favourite – was soaring and melancholy, sending a shiver down my spine.
No Devotion are impressive because of the fact that they are all playing music that is so completely different from anything that any of them have done in their pasts. They stand out so brilliantly from the rest of the scene at the moment, and it’s refreshing to hear something new and interesting when so many bands nowadays sound exactly the same. Geoff said on stage that their music in the future was “gonna be all different human emotions”, promising that in the coming years of the band they will be branching out into heavier music, to contrast the pop-edged songs they’ve been releasing at the moment, and I can’t wait for that promise to come true. With the band playing Brixton O2 Academy tonight, supporting Gerard Way, they’re going to be playing the biggest show of their careers, but I can’t wait to see them headlining stages that size on their own in a few years.
One extra thing – I just want to say a special thank you to Philip Jenkins, for being such an amazing drummer. If you didn’t go into the concert knowing that he was a temporary drummer it would not have been obvious at all, because he looked so confident and at home with the rest of the band that it wouldn’t have been a far stretch to assume he was one of the original members. Even during ‘Death Rattle’, one of the hardest songs that the band perform – both musically and emotionally – he was so in sync with the rest of the members that it was utterly awe-inspiring. Finding out from him after the show that the band only had two or three rehearsals all together, I was truly amazed by how hard Phil had practiced to put on an amazing show for the No Devotion fans, and that deserves an honourable mention. Once again, thank you Phil!
I Want To Be Your God
Grand Central Station