Anteros @ Oporto, 27.09.17

For a band that have yet to release an album, Anteros set the jam-packed venue of Oporto alight with their ‘bitter dream pop’ setlist. Tonight is, pure and simply, about leaving your troubles at the door and getting intoxicated to the groove of Anteros.

The band are at home in Oporto: a tiny bar framed with red neon lights, it is a true party atmosphere. As they roar through the rollickingly jubilant ‘Breakfast’ and ‘The Beat’, the band’s ability of reclaiming the darkness with their bright and fast-paced melodies is on full display. 

Hayden is the captivating frontwoman that all 14 years old girls dreamed of being but never had. Yet, with the band’s distinctively indie-pop sound, the London four-piece perhaps risk sounding stuck in 2007 rather than being a fresh band of 2017. But as a live performance, this doesn’t matter. Live, their tracks are injected with an extra dose of explosive kick, and ‘Cherry Drop’ in particular feels like it was made to be performed live. The band has an electric energy and flare for performance, that whether you’re a fan of their EPs or not, you are still captured by this communal sense of elation. It is a nineties and noughties revival haze all stirred into one.

Currently within the music industry – as with other art forms – the question of gender is one that won’t go away. There has been debate as to whether it is progressive to bring up a woman’s gender in reference to their art, or whether it stalls progress. But frontwoman Laura Hayden tonight shows why this is a discussion we should be having, and why we should be having it now. 

It is a moment of feminism in action when Hayden interrupts mid-song to tell a crowd of drunk rowdy men to “watch it, there’s girls here”, pointing to the young girls that these men were crashing into. “We’re not delicate”, she says, after the song has finished, “we just don’t want to be crushed to death”. It is a simple action, one that many will have probably forgotten, but it is a moment that reveals many of the complications within the indie scene. Hayden’s act feels like a moment of small revolution, yet it is also one that shouldn’t feel so. In all my years of gigging and seeing male-fronted indie bands, I have never seen anyone make such a comment. It’s a sobering moment: this is a gig that refuses to allow the male gigging experience have precedent over anyone else’s. When Hayward brings three female audience members up to dance with her during ‘Party’, we get a glimpse into a world where other forms of gigging experiences are at the forefront. This is a party for all, not the few, and the band should be commended for making everyone feel welcome.

Covered in glitter and wayward curls, Hayden is the disco ball, lights and action all in one. As they sing their self-titled track ‘Anteros’, bassist Joshua Rumble and guitarist Jack Couzens leap wildly around stage to Hayden’s soaring vocals. It is an atmosphere of pure celebration. This is a band that look like they’re having just as much fun on stage, as we are watching them.

Words by Juliette Rowsell

Images by Meg Firth