Sometimes, Oporto is a modest venue for emerging artists; others, it’s absolutely bouncing, full of hopeful fans. Last night, it was very much the latter, when Retro Video Club arrived in Leeds to kick off their tour.
The Scottish four-piece were supported by just one act, but that was all that was needed to shake off the chills from the outside and warm the room up. Made up of six housemates, Little Planets* were an outfit you couldn’t tear your eyes away from. They had character, personality and wit, all nicely packaged up with their dual frontwoman setup, two guitarists, a bassist and drummer.
Fundamentally, they’re a really vibrant, youthful, feel-good band. Through their indie-pop hooks, sugary funk veneer and R&B-tinged vocals, supplying big grooves is very much what they do best. It’s no wonder these uni pals have gripped the ears of BBC Introducing and various reviewers. Rightfully, their bop-till-you-drop melodies have earned them opening slots for SPINN and my pals Sarpa Salpa, too.
Little Planets’ insatiably catchy tunes traverse harder-hitting themes of sexism and social media, but they can dial up the fun as well. I never thought I’d write about Katy Perry on Record Weekly, but I’ve got to applaud this band for their very enjoyable ‘California Gurls’ rendition.
Although Little Planets had brought a crowd of their own, bodies didn’t disappear from the room; they started to flock thick and fast, and it was obvious that Retro Video Club had a fantastic pull down here. At the time I first got into RVC, I couldn’t have imagined seeing them play anywhere other than Edinburgh or Glasgow, but there they were; apparently serving our wanting ears with the longest set they’d ever done.
There’s something quite bucket-list-esque about hearing tunes you’ve been non-stop rinsing, in the flesh. ‘Addicted’, ‘Boys Like Me’ and ‘Psycho’ had that impact, with every drum thump, indie-rock riff and belted-out lyric. RVC sing about very on-trend topics, in a totally accurate, relatable and poetic fashion, giving them added credibility for me. It really isn’t surprising that they garner such huge sell-out crowds around venues in their hometown and surrounds.
In Leeds, the very mellow midway anthem, ‘Save Me’, offered a semi-acoustic break. And although it had the softly-softly approach, it didn’t dull the mood at all — everyone was completely in sync with verse after verse, chorus after chorus. My standouts, though, came in the form of the roaring ‘Faking’, which boasted intensity by the bucketload, then the final track, ‘Chemistry’. As their most popular song to stream, it was an obvious and entirely necessary banger to round the show off.
*With thanks to Little Planets for the press access