Photography: Gaz Jones / @GJMphoto

SPRING KING

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  • Moats
EVOL @ The Shipping Forecast 24/9/14

SPRING KING stem from intriguing roots. Rather than the usual origins story featuring a few friends jamming together, the garage punk act was born in frontman Tarek Musa’s bedroom from a handful of demos. The fact he’s now the drummer means you’re constantly thrown off guard via your rigid expectations of where the vocalist should reside, as your eyes dart back and forth from centre stage. However, it would be foolish to suggest that the chemistry between each member is anything less because of it; in Spring King’s party, it’s all for one.

The same can be said for support slot regulars MOATS. Just as exciting on the umpteenth performance as the first, everyone’s a winner, in particular the four lads themselves. It’s their last show before heading to Austin City Limits in Texas, but they’re not holding back here because of it. Hordes of friends surge forward as frontman Matthew Duncan requests the crowd to “get electrocuted”, with some having come from as far as south of the Birmingham divide to see the band. As the set lurches from fast and foreboding numbers to the more contemplative Fortnight, which ponders a past girlfriend over echoing guitars as the drums gradually build, it’s not difficult to see why.

Unsurprisingly, Moats have built a strong reputation in this corner of the North West, while tonight acts as a road test for the headliners. Musa may recognise these parts as a LIPA alumni (which explains the presence of fellow graduate Dan Croll at the front), but since then he has returned to his stomping ground of Manchester and unleashed an impressive array of production work. Now signed to Transgressive with a debut EP preaching to the masses, it’s all raring to go; Spring King just need to test the water.

 

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Third track Can I? provides the first real ruckus of the night. From then on in it’s a relentless assault that is only reined in for the more restrained Not Me, Not Now towards the end. Croll is just one of many that indulge in some exuberant headbanging, which suits the scene perfectly; you wonder: why on earth is such boisterousness not a feature of every gig of this kind? Surely in the tight confines of the Hold it’s only a matter of time before the blaze of reverb draws the room to breaking point? The secret ingredient lies in the two guitarists and bassist on stage.

While Musa remains heavily focused over the drums, the remaining members stand in a line and stimulate the crowd through their vigorous onstage antics. One guitarist veers across to Musa in a seamless flow during Mumma, before bravely crowdsurfing on curtain-call Vampire, where vigorous moshing hammers him against the ceiling. For all the casual, carefree vibes conveyed by their music, the Spring King live experience is tight as hell, and all the more enjoyable for it.

Tonight has seen the reaction you crave at the unveiling of fresh, raw talent: reckless yet co-operative euphoria. It may be short and sweaty, but pandemonium is often best enjoyed in small doses, and Spring King carry it with such a strong sense of assurance that you can tell this is only the first step on a long road ahead.

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