Writer Ray Vincent-Mills / Photographer Nevaeh Anning
I walk past someone with a ‘No bollocks just rock and roll’ t-shirt with Bilk’s signature slapdash snail logo on it and expectations are set. This show at Mama Roux’s is the first date in the band’s UK tour following the release of their self-titled, debut album.
The show opens with Postman, a three piece post-punk outfit straight out of Birmingham. The vocalist exclaims: “We’re the local boys of the night!”
The underbelly of grunge in their music provides depth and an ominous note, complimented well by the navy blue lights above them. A pocket of people in the front bounce around, arms up high to the music, which grants them nods and half smiles from the singer.
“This is called ‘I can’t describe the feeling’ dedicated to Hayden. He had the top streams for this song on Spotify, like a hundred, it had only been out a couple months.”
They may not be able to describe the feeling, but I can. It’s exciting and wholesome to see a new local band acquire a fan base.
“I’ve got some good news and bad news, it’s our last song.”
“Naaaahhhhh!” Someone retorts from the crowd
“But the good news is, it’s an absolute rager.”
The crowd agrees as pleas of one more song hit the air. The vocalist regretfully responds with that’s all we got.
KIDS enter the stage, swapping over cymbals, equipped with the edition of a synth. They announce that they are experiencing some technical difficulties with the natural solution of “Fuck it, let’s chat.”
There’s a playful shout of “Play Wonderwall.”
“We take a while to get started, but once we do it’s beautiful.”
When they do, the tongue and cheek vibes are undeniable. From the performance, to the lyrical content and vocal delivery. Their stage presence is enigmatic and full of personality as lead singer Beau goes from singing, to loose rapping, with yowls and grunts thrown into the mix.
The person taking pictures on stage gets an ad lib in the mic and it is clear to me that the band has foundations of friendship, love, and community.
In the last song the crowd are instructed to “Go fucking mental when this drops with me, yeah!”
The crowd oblige as a pit forms and the vocalist makes himself the pinnacle of it by jumping in and moshing with the crowd. KIDS’s set ends with the frontman picking up a drumstick and joining in on the drummer’s beat.
Two people are huddled in a dimly lit corridor with one of them jumping up and down excitedly professing: “I just love men in bands so much!”.
Bilk walk onto the stage and immediately throw a blow up football into the crowd. They announce it’s the first date on their (sold out) tour. The music sparks the room alight as the no frills band let their sound do the talking.
Indie with rock and roll influences, the three young lads sport t-shirts and jeans which adds to the group’s modesty which is clear in their music. Their lyrical content encapsulates British youth, providing tracks that are simultaneously hard hitting and endearing.
The crowd pulses as someone picks up their mate and there is no shortage of moshing and headbanging. Someone does a worm in the pit to end a spontaneous breakdance routine before bodies clash and shove to the drum hits and guitar riffs.
The football re-enters the room, landing on top of one of Mama Roux’s painted houses. It becomes part of the furniture and so does everyone else as the climax of the songs descends onto the crowd. Rogue bits of confetti float down from the ceiling as the die-hard fans sing, scream and shout every lyric.
The bus dwellers and train catchers dip just before shouts for an encore.
“You want one more yeah!”
It’s ‘Daydreamer’ and the crowd passionately sings back the lyrics. Energies are high, brows are sweating as the room unites for the last hoorah. Sol throws a bottle of water into the crowd before the group vanishes into black and purple hues.
“First proper gig-experience that, ” someone says enthusiastically on the walk home.
Bilk + Postman, KIDS @ Mama Roux’s 15.02.23 / Nevaeh Anning
For more from BILK go to: www.bilkband.co.uk
For more from Mama Roux’s go to: www.mamarouxs.co.uk