Every first Thursday of the month, Geek Out comes to The Wheelbarrow in London. It’s a relaxed, friendly evening where the only stipulation is that the bands each play one Weezer cover. The resident DJs (A Badge of Friendship’s Claire and Paul and Geek Out founders Dan and Mark) keep the tunes upbeat and indie with a healthy dose of the classics in there for good measure.
As The Wheelbarrow begins to fill to the brim, The New Union hit the stage; they are four fresh faced young lads from Brighton. They’ve only been around for the last 18-months but they’ve been busy writing music, playing shows and gaining a good fanbase.
Brighton’s sunny seaside spirit definitely seems to have infiltrated their sound. Sweet vocals and driving beats are kept afloat by gorgeously smooth guitars that seem to emulate the waves of the East Sussex town. Their single “Without You” is one of the highlights of their set, sounding a little like a more up tempo Wild Beasts and Beach House, and this is no bad thing. Their Weezer cover (“Island In The Sun”) is perfect, even though the boys look a little embarrassed by it. Embarrassed by Weezer? Surely not! Despite this, The New Union provide a solid set and we’re intrigued to hear more.
Next up is Boy Mandeville. We’re not really sure what to make of their tunes as they begin playing but with each summery upbeat indie tune, the crowd are slowly won over. It’s really hard not to smile when watching these guys; there are elements of Paul Simon’s 80s era “You Can Call Me Al” vibes here. That may sound a little strange but Boy Mandeville (photo above) really make it work, taking these Afro-Caribbean elements and amalgamating them with a more modern indie sound (“Carib-Indie” as one of our party points out – you heard it coined here first folks!).
No other band seems to be doing this at the moment and that’s one of their biggest strengths. Boy Mandeville are, most importantly, fun and don’t like they’re taking themselves too seriously. They’re definitely the winners of the evening.