When it comes to garage rock, there’s nobody quite like the Americans. Nirvana perfected it, The White Stripes continued it, and in the 21st century The Orwells appear determined to revive it; showcasing an emphatic mixture of attitude and raw talent in the heart of East London on Wednesday night.
After sampling some of the best pubs Shoreditch has to offer, we wandered up to the Vibe Bar and into the pop-up venue; a small back room that hardly screamed ‘ROCK REVOLUTION!’ Nevertheless, shortly after we arrived, support band Darlia took to the stage and the evening’s entertainment commenced.
Dressed in a huge baggy t-shirt and with bleached blond locks, it is clear where front man Nathan Day gets his inspiration from. Unfortunately for Darlia, they’ve a long way to go if they want to achieve anything like the success of their American idols. Perhaps the sound system was poor, but Darlia were so loud that Day’s voice was almost indiscernible amongst the wall of noise emanating from the stage. Just about recognizable and somewhat enjoyable were ‘Animal Kingdom,’ from their Candyman EP, and ‘Queen of Hearts,’ with which they ended their set.
Now it was the turn of The Orwells themselves to give their best impression of Kurt Cobain and co. Fortunately Mario Cuomo and his band have the distinct advantage of actually hailing from the same country as Nirvana, growing up together at school in Chicago.
Also fortunate is the fact that The Orwells sure as hell know how to have a good time. Bounding onto the stage, the band launch into a their set at a ferocious pace, belting out the opening number, ‘Suspended’ before launching into fan favourite ‘Mallrats.’ Cuomo’s energy is infectious, bounding around the stage before throwing himself into the now incredibly raucous audience.
The Orwells have clearly already developed a strong set of loyal fans, shown by the fact that this gig, only announced last week, is a sell out, despite the band also playing a show in Camden in June. The band’s second album, Disgraceland, is also released in June, but new singles ‘The Righteous One’ and ‘Dirty Sheets’ are equally as well received as their older material.
Refusing to rest up in-between songs, the band performs snippets of The Foundations ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ as well as an impressive rendition of Gorillaz ‘Clint Eastwood,’ keeping the crowd entertained throughout. The entire set is performed at an unrelenting place, with 15 songs squeezed into just under an hour. The band depart with a whirlwind rendition of The Stooges ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ and the new album’s first single, ‘Who Needs You.’
The Orwells are conclusive proof that Rock & Roll is alive and kicking, and that the world is all the better a place for it.
The Orwells played:
The Righteous One
Halloween All Year
In My Bed
Not a Problem
Bathroom Tile Blues
Gotta Get Down
Let it Burn
I Wanna Be Your Dog
Who Needs You