Cola at The George Tavern, London, May 17th 2024

“Is anyone going to faint in here, or is it just me?” Tim Darcy, Cola’s frontman and guitarist asks the crowd while mopping his brow with his forearm. Their bassist, Ben Stidworthy, unbuttons his shirt and turns to mouth “It’s hot!” at drummer Evan Cartwright who, despite the humidity, spends most of the night rhythmically thwacking his drum kit with the straight-backed poise of a demented conductor, veering somewhere between that and an octopus whose tentacles have finally been unshackled as the triumvirate hurtle their way through a set eagerly devoured by a sea of nodding, bobbing heads. 

Half of the songs Cola play tonight, at the first of two sold-out headline shows at London’s George Tavern, hail from debut album Deep in View. Though here the knotty, taut, blasts of skeletal punk have more bite and muscle. So Excited rumbles and crunches with guitar tones that sound more like Guided By Voices. Met Resistance with its thumping, probing bassline practically marches its way through the venue while the propulsive, motorik drumming of Water Table is greeted by whoops, whistles and applause as Darcy sings about being one with technology with his decisive clipped delivery, like the words are being pinched at the top of his throat.

The other half of Cola’s set is made from soon-to-be-released second album The Gloss and if these songs are anything to go by, it will pick up the relay baton somewhere between Darcy and Stidworthy’s previous band, Ought’s second and third albums. Bigger and louder, on Albatross, the staccato strokes of guitar are swapped for a swinging singalong chorus as Darcy chimes “Take a freeze frame, and tell me how to fix my stride… I’m a lame horse with an optimistic mind”. At this point the crowd in the back corners of the room climb their tables and chairs to cop a better view. But it is Bitter Melon, Cola’s longest song at six minutes that gets the loudest reception tonight as Darcy delivers a riff so sharp and thick it could prise the lid from a paint tin before the band break down into a wig-out of jabbing bass, squalls of guitar and smashes of symbol that shake the crooked, gold chandeliers that hang from the room’s concrete ceiling.

Cola take two turns at closing their set with Keys Down if You Stay a wailing ode to feeling stuck which they have to stop and restart as a member of the crowd succumbs to the heat. The band immediately stop, jump from the stage to help the fan and make sure he has water and fresh air before starting again and bringing the gig to a close. “If anyone has been to one of our shows before” Darcy pipes “you can get another stamp on your punchcard on the way out” Cola return to the capital in November to play their largest UK show yet at The Dome. It is almost certain the crowd tonight will be there, punchcards ready.

The post Cola at The George Tavern, London, May 17th 2024 appeared first on Indie is not a genre.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.