A lot has changed since 2014. The alt-right have been given a platform, Bake-Off has moved to Channel 4, and the indie scene is no longer simply about denim jackets and angsty guitars. Walking on stage in full 70’s aesthetic (flared trousers included) and their newly found saxophone in hand after a 3-year hiatus, this was a night that marked change. Childhood have emerged from the psych-infused indie pop of the early 2010s, and into something far more compelling.
During ‘Don’t Have Me Back’, we’re gifted with a sax vs. vocals vs. therestoftheband battle, in which no inch of the room is left untouched by this majestic onslaught. Despite having to restart the song after being out of time with each other, this is a high of the night, with the result being a moment of pure euphoria. The band’s introduction of a saxophone into their track listing tied the night together, and created a seamless flow between the likes of ‘Cameo’ and ‘Californian Light’ – featuring an impressive soul-infused falsetto from frontman Ben Roman Hopcraft.
Perhaps to highlight their break from the past, tonight mainly showcased Childhood’s new material. While their old material certainly had a different tone to their newer tracks, the likes of ‘Blue Velvet’ and encore ‘Solemn Skies’ proved an audience hit: still as charming, still as catchy, and definitely still as fun as when they first were when first released five years ago.
This was a gig that was exploding at the edges with charm and colour, so it was disappointing to see the Social Club only half full. Closing song ‘Understanding’ certainly felt designed to knock out a large standing crowd. Initially feeling a tad exposed in this intimate atmosphere, the band injected a much-needed psych-meets-soul instrumental which transformed this summer breeze haze of sound into a wall of roaring buoyancy. With the pink and purple lights flooding the room, you were certainly picked up on Childhood’s magic carpet ride of oozing groove.
This was a night of universal highs, flared trousers, and sophisticated groove. Childhood have swapped the charity-shop chic for 70s sophistication, and we are greeted with a band that look like they are having as much fun on stage, as we are off.
Feature Image: Louder Than War