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The LaFontaines - O2 Institute, Birmingham 18.06.2019

Racking up ten years of history The LaFontaines are still fighting their way to the top, no matter what bump in the road or side-tracked mess comes their way they always come out on top with a sarcastic joke to follow. Their latest tour follows them on the road with their new album ‘Junior’, and as far as live performances go, they were nothing short of charismatic, exciting and overall entertaining.

Following them alongside their latest UK run is the soulful duo Anavae. The English Rock pairing succeed your average duo-group, stepping out of the box of generic Pop-Rock to offer heartfelt power ballads matched with an illustrious stage presence that always left you in a state of unknowing.

“What were they going to do next? How weird is this going to get?” is all that paced through my mind as I watched leading lady Rebecca Need-Menear gleefully prance around the stage, like a puppet animated by the soul of her own music. They are undoubtedly electrifying and overall just interesting to watch for curiosity’s sake alone.

Kicking off with ‘Alpha’ from their most recent LP, The LaFontaines boasted their way into the room bringing heaps of bountiful energy and passion along with them that climaxed the room’s atmosphere into a chaotic array of pure insanity. In just a short five minutes every single person in the room was off their feet and chanting along, it was marvelous.

Although the venue did underwhelm their talents and upon arrival, felt like a limitation for what the three scots could deliver, front man Kerr Okan’s rambunctious antics of bouncing off the walls, leaping into the crowd and dancing on the bar claimed back discouragements that The LaFontaines are anything other than hilarious and crazy. Their performance felt like an arena show compacted into a 100-cap room, somewhat like the Motley Crue of Indie Rock.

As the night prolonged the Scottish collective shared their best hits that highlighted their more recent work, but also provided fans with a much-needed wave of nostalgia with their earlier works on their 2015 ‘Class’ and 2014 EP ‘Under The Storm’ with fan favorite tracks like ‘Slow Elvis’ making the rounds.

Audience rapport was phenomenal, especially given that Scottish bands have never fared well in the tightening grips of the English crowds. Call it devoted patriotism on both ends, but finding your footing in one country is hard enough, then having to establish yourself amongst three other countries when you’re not another Indie Rock band from the capital city is an uphill battle. Yet, the outrageous audience response and headcount turnover alone establishes The LaFontaines as more than something to be washed over. They can bring the crowds and can certainly bring the heat.

It’s easy to hide behind an ego, especially in today’s industry of carbon copied indie rock bands that fall into the trap of resting on the same cocky pretense. But what I took away the most from their performance is the sheer humility and passion for their work, they certainly love to crack jokes but behind their charming banter is a soft love.

It spoke to me the most when I saw Okan engaging with the crowd, he’d find someone singing along with the words and single them out, giving them their own defined and personal moment with their favorite band that they can treasure forever. Bands who go that extra mile and can crack a few jokes along the way are what continue to push people to come to more shows and keep this scene thriving.

Photos & Review - Yasmine Summan

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