XFM X-Posure All Dayer live at Camden Barfly, 27 Jan '13 // Words + Photos: Saam Das
XFM DJ John Kennedy is someone I've listened to for almost a decade. I used to tune in to his late night shows on a regular basis and always enjoyed hearing amazing new bands that he'd uncover. John's also been putting on the XFM X-Posure All Dayer for many years. 2013's installment involved the likes of Wolf Alice and Temples.
First off, however, were Leeds indie popstars This Many Boyfriends. I must confess that I pretty much only caught two and a bit of their songs, thanks to the Northern Line's part suspension. I wasn't the only one scuppered by transport issues, with the band being a man down due to Megabus woes. Regardless, This Many Boyfriends delivered a thrilling finale to their set, with 'Young Lovers Go Pop!' being an obvious highlight.
For me, it was equally pleasing to have a brief chat with Laura, their lovely drummer - who I used to sporadically see around at gigs across London a good seven or so years ago. Oh to be young again. The nostalgia trip didn't stop there, with LULS up next.
The London trio include one Shaun Paterson, who I must have seen play live about twenty times with his previous band Les Incompetents - trivia fans might want to know that Fred and Chris from Les Inc are now in Spector, who are doing pretty well for themselves these days. LULS could well match their success - their indie rock anthems supercharged in the live setting.
Despite a set that was a mere five songs long, LULS made the biggest impression of the night. Well, aside from the lead singer of Temples' hair. And the fact he got a little too intimate with me while walking by - personal space, Mr Temple, personal space. Similarly, their nostalgic psychedelia was clearly accomplished but not for me.
Drenge followed - a band I knew very little about. And who I later discovered have songs called 'People In Love Make Me Feel Yuck' and 'I Wanna Break You In Half'. But the Sheffield duo are no joke, with punishing riffs evocative of heavy hitting US bands like Sonic Youth and Fugazi.
Before I headed off to meet some friends (thumbs up) in the nearby Ice Wharf (massive thumbs down), I stuck around for perhaps the most hotly tipped band of the evening - Wolf Alice. Earlier I'd had a pleasant conversation at the bar with a woman, and mentioned the band - as soon as I said "female fronted", she was sold.
At times, I'm also sold on Wolf Alice. At others, I'm less sure. Their music somewhat confusingly veers between Joni Mitchell and noise-pop. Perhaps surprisingly, they're equally adept at both styles. There's a certain refreshing enthusiasm about what they do, a glean in their eye. By the end of the evening, I shared a similarly optimistic attitude - 2013 is going to be another great year of new music.
Find more on XFM X-Posure here and follow John Kennedy on Twitter.