Crystal Castles, Palace, The Big Moon and Amazon: Fiction Records Showcase at House of Vans
The House of Vans, an indoor skate park nestled beneath Waterloo’s arches, recently hosted a showcase of the talent that British label Fiction Records manage. With a stable including new bands like Palace alongside better known acts including The Maccabees and Crystal Castles, Fiction have a lot to shout about, and their showcase does not disappoint.
Opening the evening are relaxed London four-piece Palace, who have been well received online following the release of their first two tracks nearly a year ago. Clearly undaunted by the assembled crowd, frontman Leo Wyndham wastes no time in launching into excellent renditions of both Veins and Bitter, the two tracks that garnered their initial online attention. Veins in particular stands out with its mellow, blues-flecked rhythms and Wyndham’s airy vocals.
Once the four Tottenham boys have departed the stage, replaced by an enthusiastic hype man who draws people from throughout the arched confines of the venue, the next act to perform are The Big Moon; a female four-piece who are clearly jubilant following the launch of their debut single. Bouncing around the stage, they smile throughout a set that includes the expertly delivered harmonies of Cupid and punk riffs of Eureka Moment. Despite their relative lack of experience, their blend of alt-rock and pop punk is invigorating and not dissimilar to 90s/00s work by American bands like Weezer and The Presidents of the USA.
Following a short set by The Amazons, who belt their way through tracks including the upbeat and euphoric Stay With Me and Ultraviolet, Crystal Castles saunter onto the stage. The Canadian duo gaze briefly at the crowd before launching into a characteristically manic set that briefly transforms the House of Vans into an industrial rave. Heavily layered synth and distorted bass kicks wash over an audience that has been whipped into a frenzy over standout tracks Baptism and Not in Love. The duo’s energy and pace is relentless with new vocalist Edith Frances throwing herself around throughout the pumping rhythms of Untrust Us – a brilliant track that sounds like the Pet Shop Boys wandered into a mid-90s warehouse rave.
Although slightly rough around the edges (no doubt on account of how new some of their bands are), Fiction Records’ stable are prodigiously talented, as evidenced by a solid evening of performances from newcomers and veterans alike.
Photos: Erol Birsen
Watch the video for The Big Moon – Cupid here: