Is Tropical at the Moth Club
Underneath the hallowed golden glitter arches of Hackney’s Moth Club (so named as an acronym for Memorable Order of Tin Hats, the many ex-servicemen that the establishment was built for), Is Tropical continued their assault on London’s music-loving masses. Touring third album Black Anything, the band has a new lineup and a new musical direction, making for an intriguing premise both for those who have seen them before and for those who haven’t.
With sticky floors, a smoke-filled stage and rotating, coloured strobe lighting, Moth Club excels as the kind of venue that brings out all the best in energetic electro-indie outfits like Is Tropical. The room is small enough to be intimate, but large enough to pack in a strong, baying crowd.
Kirstie Fleck, the band’s new addition, takes centre stage as they begin with What??? from their first album Native On. She sings along with her bandmates “Temptations to be good, temptations to be good”, a mantra offering solace, whilst the itch of being bad is too great. The crowd lets out a wild cheer when Lights Out starts up, the first track from Black Anything. The set is punctuated by the sound of police alarms, controlled from a pedalboard by Gary Barber, and the feel is frenetic, energetic and vaguely anti-establishment.
Slow-burner On Our Way makes for a contrastingly atmospheric turn, which becomes bathetic when the band finds there is so much smoke onstage they cannot actually see anything – cue the audience getting out their phones to use them as torches to help cut through the gloom. The atmosphere is convivial, and this isn’t a private party; everyone is in on it.
The band ramp it up with Dancing Anymore, and the entire room bounces, the song vibrating with all the swagger of mid-noughties indie twinned with DIY electronica. Dancing Anymore highlights the band’s origins: starting out mimicking the bouncy pop of the previous decade to now, embracing the dark soundscape of cutting-edge synth and dance. This is followed by not one but three encores, before they finally bid goodnight.
Whilst Is Tropical have been on more than one journey as a band, it feels like whatever they have been through has only made them stronger, and made their music better. The Moth club will remember them, and no doubt they will be back again one day, after they have conquered the world.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information about Is Tropical and future events visit here.
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