Cheatahs + Novella @ Birthdays, London - 12/02/2014

by JenPhillips
JenPhillips
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on 14 February 2014 in Live
Rating 7/10

Cheatahs released their long awaited debut album earlier this month to a ripple of excitement from press and music blogs alike. After very early beginnings in 2010 and releasing 'Extended Plays' and 'Sans' EPs in 2012, it was nigh on time that they offered up their first album proper to their fans. With plenty of new tracks on their album to entertain the crowd, tonight Cheatahs choose to play a new album-heavy set, peppered with some of their discernable fan favourites thrown in for good measure.

According to official sources tonight is not sold out, but Birthdays in Dalston is probably as packed as it could comfortably be for all involved. Even support band, psych-influenced four-piece Novella, must have been pleased with the throng of people milling around, ardently observing their set. In a brief, amusing moment, a small group of too-loud guys chatting throughout most of Novella’s performance are hushed by a woman close by. The music tonight is to be listened to and relished, and heaven forbid anyone trying to take the attention away from the stage.

Dry ice sufficiently expelled, Cheatahs take to the small Birthdays stage to polite applause and a couple of excitable “Yeah!”s. Their set begins with the heavy reverb of album opener 'Geographic', beginning as they intend to go on with an abundance of new album goodness. Their low-fi, shoegaze sound isn’t reinventing the wheel (think My Bloody Valentine/Dinosour Jr./Teenage Fanclub), but this evening they are nevertheless enjoyable. Vocals/guitarist Nathan Hewitt is clearly confident in his technical abilities yet slightly lacking in a shimmering stage presence that could bring out more from the crowd, should that even be what he actually wants. This is by no means a boring show however, as the crowd are swaying, eyes occasionally closed in a blissful daze, to most of their set.

Although predominantly a gig to flaunt their shiny new album gems, some of their more obviously popular earlier tracks are also granted an airing. 'Fountain Park' from the 'Sans' EP is a stand out with Cheatahs' trade mark hook laden riffs and hazy, distorted vocals effortlessly delivered, while the catchy, ever admired 'The Swan' brings a last burst of energy from the band and crowd as the set comes to a close. The constant, intense pace throughout the evening is a credit to Cheatahs, who will no doubt garner a few more fans after tonight’s performance.

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