Aggressive garage punk duo Brown Brogues open tonight's bill at The Harley, and power their way through the half an hour set, allowing the audience little chance to catch their breath. Singer Mark Vernon growls, yelps and howls his way through the performance, seductively shaking his hips, giving us his best Jagger impression, while drummer Ben Mather furiously bashes out a steady rhythm. This kind of primal assault seems to split the audience in two; some return back to their seats at the back of the bar while others appear to be edging closer to the speakers trying to take in more of the bands raw power.
Milk Maid follow with their take on the re-emerging sound of 1990s indie. Unfortunately, the band seems to meander through their set with little enthusiasm. Songs like 'Can’t You See' and 'Girl' are catchy enough but fail to really grab the attention of the listener; the sound is too messy and compressed together for the riffs, crescendos and quieter parts of their songs to register with their full effect. They are tight together but they fail to ignite much of a reaction amongst the audience, with the exception of the track 'Not Me' which sparks a sea of bopping heads throughout the crowd.
Taking to the stage as a three-piece, headliners Mazes look every inch the indie slacker kids their music portrays. Emerging from the blossoming London DIY scene, the band respectfully embodies the spirit of groups who have inspired them (Pavement, Dinosaur Jr, etc.) while adding an adolescent spark of vigour and vitality.
The group are instantly energetic, playing simple fuzzed out pop music, making it look as fun as it sounds. A mix of catchy and frenetic tracks from their debut album ('Most Days', 'Go Betweens', 'Summer Hits') and slower, more refined Pavement-esque tracks like 'Surf & Turf' and 'Bowie Knives' creates a well balanced set in which the band are able to showcase the range of their talent. Lead singer Jack Cooper bops and weaves his way through the set, displaying his charisma and ability as a guitarist, constantly roaming around the stage unable to stand still. The set is a triumphant display of tasteful, well-crafted pop music that pays homage to its influences with intensity and integrity.