Sunflower Bean

Sunflower Bean


New York’s Sunflower Bean became one of the hottest tip bands after their release of their debut album earlier this year. A potent mix of attitude and great songs, it made for a listen that harked back to days long gone yet still managed to look forward with an incredible clarity. This attitude is clear tonight, with Julia’s ripped tights and the other two’s black clothes all backed by a sinister image of old-fashioned weighing skills left in the middle of nowhere.

However, drummer Nick Kivlen, and joint lead singers and guitars Jacob Faber, and Julia Cumming seem like a lovely bunch, happy at the amount of people here and set to throw everything into tonight in spite of a tiring tour schedule. ‘Human Ceremony’ begins with that unforgettable riff and we are instantly sold, even before Julia wraps the warm clasp of her vocals around The Deaf Institute. Jacob’s voice may not quite have the same power but it is at that moment that the song blows up into an enjoyable kaleidoscopic chaos, before we happily return to the gentle breeze over lush grass that is Julia. A wonderful start.

We are then knocked out of any comfort with a slice of drum dominated punk that is less nuanced than ‘Human Ceremony’ but just as effective, sending the audience into a heavier more frightening space. The screaming, however, gets out of control in the next track and a solo filled ending that climaxes with Jacob throwing his guitar above his head gives us a small unenjoyable scent of narcissism.

Julia, though, is enticing throughout, she jostles like she’s about to throw a punch when dancing and soon finds herself in the crowd directing a moshpit with the spine of her guitar. ‘Watching you’ is a quick thrust of a song, while ‘I Was Home’ is a Courtney Barnett-esque piece of slacker pop where they rudiment about the comings and goings of everyday life.

‘Easier Said’, their best song of their relatively short careers, enraptures us with its soaring angelic opening riff and its wonderfully refined chorus. You’d come for this alone and sadly it’s over way too soon. ‘Space Exploration Disaster’, like its title, is drawn out and the encore unnecessary punctuates an unstoppable performance. Together, these three have an energy that can transcend and transform people around you, and tonight’s closing chants of ‘Julia, Julia, Julia’ show exactly that. A very uncivilised reaction to a beautifully uncivilised performance. Let’s do it all again please.

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Paddy Kinsella

Hi all, my name is Paddy and I have a love for everything from African music to indie to house (basically anything other than heavy metal). Gigging and listening to albums are genuinely the things I most value and love doing.