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Review: October Drift - 12/02/20 - Think Tank?, Newcastle

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Review: October Drift get up close and personal at Think Tank?, Newcastle – 12/02/20

24/02/2020

Headed out on tour in support of debut album ‘Forever Whatever’, vivacious indie four-piece October Drift brought their much-hyped live show to Newcastle’s Think Tank?.

Hailed as one of Britain’s best young bands, it’s certainly been a journey up to this point for October Drift. Having emerged in 2015, they’ve since released a series of self-produced singles and EPs, which they’ve tested out on the road at a string of sell-out shows across the UK. Having honed their sound over the past few years, January saw the release of the band’s first full-length album: a well-crafted, confident collection of tracks that range from tender and contemplative to thundering and direct. This Taunton band’s reputation for live shows precedes them, but it isn’t until experiencing it for yourself that you really get what all the buzz is about.

As October Drift take the stage, it’s immediately clear that we’re set to experience something special. Vocalist Kiran Roy saunters onto the floor before a note is played, ushering the audience to come closer, pack in more tightly. He’s persuasive, self-assured, infectious in his enthusiasm. The crowd of 50 suddenly feels more like 500 and the four-piece kick off with ‘Losing My Touch’, content with the readiness of their audience.

No member of the band is still from this point onwards, not even for a moment. Each of them become entirely immersed in the show, with guitarist Daniel Young and bassist Alex Bispham launching themselves into the air with every chorus. Kiran regularly makes the floor his stage, getting up close and personal with fans as he traverses the crowd with his guitar. They launch from one track into the next with barely a breath, performing old favourites ‘Cherry Red’ and ‘Don’t Give Me Hope’ with unbridled energy.

Seeing October Drift in these early stages of their career means that, with just one studio album under their belt, no song is skipped. They thunder through every track from ‘Forever Whatever’ plus a few older singles and it’s amazing to experience the band’s full range, from pensive ballads through to crashing anthems. The whole discography has renewed life and energy breathed into it on stage, with heady tracks such as ‘Cinnamon Girl’ sounding more exhilarating than ever.

Title track ‘Forever Whatever’ is given a rousing acapella intro, inciting a passionate singalong before its 90s-grunge instrumental kicks in at full force. The biggest highlight, though, is when things are stripped back completely, with final song ‘Naked’ performed solo. Kiron’s vocals are haunting, penetrating a room that has been awestruck into silence. As the song finishes, he thanks the fans for coming and steps off the stage once more to interact with them individually.

It’s this personal approach combined with an exuberant live show that has captivated October Drift’s cult following, but they should enjoy such intimacy while it lasts. Word is spreading about this dynamic Somerset four-piece and soon, the crowds will come.

WORDS: Bethany Hamer

PHOTO: Ania Shrimpton

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