Hotly tipped newcomers Cheatahs come to Birthdays
Part NME-awards show and part album-launch party, Cheatahs brought their grunge rock to Dalston’s Birthdays, performing to a sold out crowd who had braved the appalling weather to be in attendance.
You could have overlooked the fact that the show was supposed to be the celebration of a hotly-tipped new band releasing their debut album, as the stereotyped moodiness that would be expected from a group likened to My Bloody Valentine and Teenage Fanclub was definitely apparent. The interaction with the crowd was minimal, and the setlist was worked through methodically. Birthdays is usually a fantastic setting for live music - last year I caught Peace there in one of the most raucous shows I’ve ever been to - but on this occasion the smaller venue didn’t generate the expected feelings of intimacy or excitement. Instead, it became a chamber for the heavily distorted and reverberated music to simply bounce around in. The result was a struggle to differentiate between the majority of the band’s tracks, as well as difficult-to-hear vocals, which was unfortunate as Nathan Hewitt - formerly of Male Bonding - has a voice perfectly suited to the heavy drumming that runs throughout Cheatahs’ music. This isn’t to say the show wasn’t enjoyable, but more that the brilliant bits were fractured by more substantial moments of mediocrity. The stand-out moment was closing track ‘The Swan’; a brilliant rock record that effectively launched the London four-piece with substantial radio airtime. It will be interesting to catch Cheatahs in a slightly larger venue where the sheer wall of sound isn’t so overwhelming, as their self-titled album showcases the clear talents that the group possess. Unfortunately, and perhaps ironically, these weren’t overly prevalent at its launch party. 5/10 Links to Cheatahs’ website, and a list of other shows can be found below:
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