Review: Arcade Hearts – 27/09/19 – Surf Cafe, Tynemouth


A blend of funk and indie, with a dash of techno, Arcade Hearts showed their live prowess at Surf Cafe, Tynemouth!

The rain is pouring down on a typical Newcastle night when I jump on the Metro. My destination: Surf Cafe Tynemouth. A small, rather cosy spot off the coast. As I entered, I was welcomed by a variety of t-shirts on the wall, each one representing a band who’ve performed at the venue. There’s a few t-shirts I spot in the corner of the room, reading ‘Arcade Hearts’. I knew I was in the right place. I finish a pint whilst watching their support, a band by the name of Great Waves, who sounded quality. Then the moment arrives. Arcade Hearts take to the stage. They’re a band that haven’t really been on my radar, but after discovering them through the power of Facebook I’ve been dying to see them. They made my wait worthwhile the second they took to the stage.

I was in awe of their subversive genre; a blend of funk and indie, with a dash of techno. Every member knew how to hold their own in the song, with the bassist often taking a funky approach, while their rhythm/lead guitarist, Charlie, boosted the core of their songs with powerful bar chords and energetic solos. However, the main stage presence came in the form of their animated frontman, Dan. His rhythmic jumping and, in some songs, pounding rhythm guitar sparked the crowd, particularly in a venue in which you were literally 3 feet away from the band.

One of the many songs I’d recommend for any new listeners would be ‘Crawling’. It’s the perfect display of their blending of techno/indie. A synthetic, techno introduction, met with a typical indie vibe of head bopping bass, melodic guitar and diverse vocals.

Something I quite liked, which I haven’t seen often, is that a few of their songs were blended together. It’s quite hard to explain, but they managed to move swiftly from song to song without having to stop. This was done via the secret tuning of guitars at the end of each song, done swiftly and to perfection. This was an innovative way of performing, and the only problem was that this meant we couldn’t applaud them after every song they played.

Their songs were also subversive with their use of tempo, shown clearly in their hit ‘Different Place’. It started with a fast introduction, then a slower verse which builds up to an electrifying chorus with pounding lyrics. It was clear they’re a performance-driven band, and seeing them live adds another layer to their music.

For anyone who hasn’t listened to Arcade Hearts, they’re a very easy listen for any fans of The 1975, who have a similar, undefinable genre and aren’t afraid to stray away from the norm. Their smooth rise to success has seen them perform on the ‘BBC Introducing’ radio show and a string of festival performances over the last year or two. They are a staple of the innovative nature of upcoming British talent.

Words and Live Photo: Tom Moorcroft 


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