With long hair and moustaches aplenty, FEET take to the stage like they’ve walked straight out of the 1960s. Within seconds the five-piece are prancing and dancing about, barely standing still throughout their half hour set. They’re eye-catching and impressive, with their tunes living up to their on-stage energy. With unconventionally blunt song titles such as English Weather, Dog Walking and Petty Thieving, it’s clear that the band do not operate within your typical flowery songwriting boundaries. This, nonetheless, is part of Feet’s appeal; quirky and eccentric songs about the mundane that oscillate from the jangly heights of Britpop to the head-banging indie-rock à la Shame and Fontaines D.C. Their songs are certainly more vibrant and energetic than they are on record, which perhaps undervalues their talent as a tight-knit, energetic live band. Their short set was everything a support slot should be; compelling the crowd to take note and making it almost irresistible to not join in on the fun.
If you have already heard of INHALER – tipped by the BBC as one of the upcoming Sounds of 2020 – it is quite likely that you have heard that lead singer Eli Hewson is the son of Paul Hewson, i.e. Bono. Whether you see this as a help or a hindrance for a young band trying to make a name for themselves, it is inevitably a talking point that catches people’s attention and curiosity. Questions are instantly posed of the band; are they any good? Do they sound like U2? Are they better or worse than his dad’s band? For now, with only a handful of songs released, it is perhaps unfair to make a sweeping assessment on these questions. In response to the family connection, Hewson (junior) has stated that it has only driven the band to want to be better, to prove themselves and the reject the naysayers. They certainly look the part as they brazenly swagger around stage – albeit with a lot less energy and enthusiasm than their support.
From their first song, new single We Have To Move On, it becomes clear why the Dublin four-piece have garnered a reputation and fan base that warrants their Academy booking, despite no album yet to their name. The majority of their songs are catchy indie-pop, full of big choruses that seem almost designed to be sung in unison with an adoring crowd. Nevertheless, the Bono-shaped cloud that hangs over the band comes more and more to the forefront as the gig continues. The big choruses, the easy-going melodies and even Hewson’s vocal delivery and mannerisms, distinctly mirror U2 and his dad. Ice Cream Sundae could very well be With Or Without You, without the lyrical muscle. Similarly, My Honest Face is a ringer for Beautiful Day – these, just two examples.
Inhaler are clearly a talented band with a knack for writing a great pop song. As their 2020 tour schedule sees them playing their own gigs and festivals across the globe, they undoubtedly seem to have the drive to succeed. Their songs, perhaps unconsciously, seem written with a desire to be sung back to them in arenas and stadiums in years to come. Nevertheless, with the weight of one of the world’s biggest rock stars an inescapable shadow over the young band, for now, it is my hope they are slightly more adventurous.