When Scottish band, Neon Waltz started putting out demos and playing gigs for friends in a castle just over a year ago, I doubt they expected to be embarking on a headline tour of the UK as one of the most talked about and exciting bands around. Nevertheless they’ve taken to the task in style.
We went to experience the castle-dwelling band first hand at our favourite small venue, The Joiners in Southampton. Surprised to find a half empty venue with no sign of a late surge of gig-goers. We experienced Neon Waltz just about as intimately as you can. Although disappointing for the Thurso boys (the furthest north you can go in the British Isles) who had made it down to one of the most southern towns in the British Isles, we were very happy to have easy access to the bar and to experience this great new band in a near empty room.
With only a handful of demoes to go by beforehand, their live show surpassed all expectations. Singer Jordan Shearer, sporting a bowl cut to rival Brian Jones, was on fine form vocally, occasionally reminiscent of a young Ian Brown particularly during ‘Sundial’ and ‘Between Them All’. The band as a collective were tight, creating an atmospheric, entrancing live experience.
Speaking to fellow impressed gig-goers, the feeling of seeing something special before the masses took hold was evident. Personally they created a transportive feeling only rivalled by The Byrds’ version of ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ or a really good Christmas song.
We caught the band again the following Tuesday at Electrowerkz in Islington to make sure we weren’t dreaming… Playing to a bigger crowd and a potentially more daunting London mob, they didn’t disappoint. The drumming was the core of their sound allowing them to shift seamlessly from their subtle, angelic vocal parts into thumping, anthemic pinnacles. It will be interesting to see how their music can translate to the big venues they will inevitably be filling soon.
On the evidence of these two gigs, Neon Waltz are just beginning to find their way and are far more than a handful of demos. The Scottish six-piece are here tostay and they’re in no hurry to get caught up in the hype trap that so often makesand breaks bands in the space of a year. Their music is timeless but doesn’t feelout of place amongst 2015’s guitar wielding pioneers. They’re taking their time, growing as they go and they might just accidentally become massive. Count us in!
We interviewed the band in issue six which you can read here.