It’s a good time to be in Fudge., but it’s also a seriously good time to be in NOISY. And since seeing Barny Fletcher at Live At Leeds in 2019, his blend of feel-good tunes has clearly become more and more popular. Deservedly so.
Finally, the show that should’ve waved in the end of January — but that virus had its wicked way on live events again — happened in May. It was just what the doctor ordered on a Wednesday night: absolute bangers in a room that got progressively sweatier.
Oporto veterans Fudge. opened; something I’m very accustomed to witnessing. They’re effortlessly comfortable in that environment, so the room was well and truly theirs, but there was an absence of moshers. The four-piece were endearingly honest about feeling pretty jaded after ripping up Liverpool’s Jacaranda not 24 hours before, but their lack of sleep didn’t hinder their performance. Seasoned legends, you know? They brought a fun, interactive and immersive set, swapping in ‘9/10’ for one of the other mainstays, and tying things up with ‘Not a Threat, Just a Warning.’ A cheeky ‘I Like To Move It’ cover? That’s just how the alt rockers do.
They’re partway through their six-leg, co-headline tour with the poetically proficient Dim Imagery at this point, so the limelight keeps shining on them.
Laptop hooked up, incense stick lit, stage assumed… Barny Fletcher was a very welcome main support for the crowd that was gathering for NOISY. The artist has been touring with them and it’s clear that their fully digital set, captained by DJ GODD, was a blood-pumper.
The thing about Oporto is, the sofa-seating around the edges can be a blessing or a curse. But people began to step forward and rise to their feet to bop along to colossal R&B-tinged tracks, ‘Christ Flow’ and ‘BOZO’, probably my favourites of the bunch. ‘Blu Skyes’ had the room bouncing still, while the ‘90s and early noughties babies among us could feel a fondness for throwback-titled ‘tamagotchi!’. The newer ‘Breakfast at Isabel’s’ was a delight as the air filled with musky, extravagant oudh aromas, too. A nice mental transportation back to Souk Madinat Jumeirah for me.
Between both supports, we had a double whammy of a bonus. Two hit-makers paving the way for NOISY’s blistering rave? We’re not worthy. The banter from both warm-up outfits was great, and Barny Fletcher’s moves, accents and insanely speedy flow created a trifecta of thrills. The emerging artist used to give me Paolo Nutini vibes, but there’s an oh-so-distinctive overarching style at the helm these days.
Half an hour passed, Oporto started to rack up the ticket-holders and NOISY swaggered through the audience, raring to bring the drums back to the night. All the bucket-listers came out — ‘Do It Like That’, ‘I Wish I Was A…’ and ‘Put A Record On’ were serious winners. The energy was magnetic throughout, and these gents knew just how to keep everyone at 100mph. There wasn’t a dull millisecond, and they retained maximum-throttle engagement by scattering their set with brand-new, unreleased gems. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to have ‘Alligator’ at the push of a button.
But for the so-called NOISY PACK, the band delivered more and more. It was a constant drip-feed of alternative D&B pop. It hasn’t really got its own genre and I rate that about what these guys specialise in. You can’t knock it.
Towards curtains, the mosh pits ignited and wide circles of bodies crashed together as the beats and synths boomed. NOISY’s smile-inducing ‘Praise You’ cover was an ode to Fatboy Slim and a gigantic nod to summer being well on its way.
If you’re reading this and grabbed a neon-yellow business card from NOISY’s merch stand at any of their shows, you’ll know exactly which five belters are waiting for you to spin as a post-gig gift. That’s some grown-up party bag…