Live Review: NME Under the Radar @ Omeara, London, 12/07/17

If NME’s Under the Radar gig was about showcasing the latest up and coming talent, then the future looks bright.

Packing out London’s beautiful Omeara venue, this was an evening of celebration: a celebration of talent, music, and diversity.

Kicking off the evening was the London-based Anteros. In a genre that has idolised the skinny white male with a precarious haircut for decades, lead singer Laura Hayden reshaped the ‘frontman’ for the 21st century. Despite her growling and effortless punk aesthetic, Hayden remained distinctly female. The set seemed to witness an entire gender-role reversal: at the front of the crowd stood a group of lads jumping wildly to every song, enamoured, adoring and worshipping the frontwoman. They were singing directly to her, and she – fully aware of her own control over the crowd – leaned in and sang back at them. As she rollicked around the stage, she commanded the room with a mystical seduction; a fireball of energy leaving everyone under her spell. A firecracker that kept on exploding, you couldn’t help but be infected by her Debbie Harry-style energy.

‘Drunk’ flawlessly captured the band’s unadulterated and unapologetic energy, as Hayden turned her back to the audience, taking her leather jacket off looking back over her shoulder to the crowd. Intoxicated with its own energy, ‘Breakfast’ carried on this boisterous vibe, and ‘Cherry Pop’ provided the crowd with a wall of roaring guitars.

This was a perform that was oozing with sensuality, energy and an infectious ‘fuck it’ attitude, and showed that Anteros mean business.

With their jazz, soul and rap influences being worn on their sleeves, the night’s other headline act, The Age of L.U.N.A., were a band that were firmly current. They were everything you could want from a band on a boozey Wednesday night party: relevant, stylish and cool.

‘Six Feet Deep’ made the crowd delirious with its breezy slow-groove riff, a song that perfectly captures the air of being young in one of the world’s most vibrant city. With the band’s slow beats and laid-back rap, The Age of L.U.N.A. created a similar vibe that Loyle Carner has been so hailed for.

This is a night that is signals that the music industry really is changing. Coming on stage at one point with a saxophone in hand, lead singer Daniella effortless exerts cool girl on the block vibes, and her voice beautifully drawls above her rapping band mates. But the real treat of the set is the band’s clear on-stage unity: with pre-rehearsed snippets of dance-like sequences, this is a performance to be watched, as much it is to be heard.

And the crowd loved it: unprovoked chants of ‘L.U.N.A’ (which stands for ‘Live Under No Control’) echoes throughout the packed-out Omeara venue. Their musical cocktail of influences, summer vibes and mixing of rap and jazz-soul vocals, is both refreshing yet exhilarating. The more intense rapping moments like in ‘Blow Me Away’ builds a crescendo of energy in the crowd, which explodes when Daniella brings the crowd and band together in a call and response exercise.

NME produced a gig that felt firmly relevant. Shunning the typical indie bands of the past, we were given a night that felt as much as a party atmosphere as it did gig atmosphere.  If tonight was an insight into what’s to come from these bands, it’s clear that the party has only just begun.

Juliette Rowsell

Image: Ben Bentley