Tucked away in a corner of Dalston, marked out only by a glowing B, the unassuming Birthdays is a trendy hipster cocktail bar upstairs, but hiding a tiny, dingy basement venue downstairs. It oozes effortless, minimalist cool, and it’s becoming common to catch up-and-coming bands on their routine tour stops throughout the city in this very room.
Tonight won’t be a long one with just two bands on the bill, but as both bands are pretty high quality, it ought not to be disappointing.
First up are local lads Chapter & Verse , and the intimate venue really lends itself to their melodic, emotive alternative rock. Frontman Josh Carter‘s impressive and impassioned vocals on the likes of ‘The New Breed’ are backed up by brief screams from Jonny Hopwood and plenty of hi-hat chimes from Ash Morton.
Unreleased track ‘Ink’ is a real standout, as Carter brings his microphone into the crowd, a number of whom get involved in the song’s memorable chorus. As the gritty ‘The Devil In Blue’ brings the set to a close, a swarm descends on the merch desk, suggesting Chapter & Verse deservingly will leave here tonight with more fans than they came with.
Not quite so local, Hellions  have made their way over from Sydney, Australia. Receiving a warm welcome from the London crowd, they waste no time getting to the point, with the ghostly sounding ‘Lotus Eater’ and the hedonistic ’25’ both causing chaos. Frontman Dre Faivre‘s vocals reverberate around the room, and when you can actually see him through the lively crowd, he’s grinning from ear-to-ear.
‘Furrow’ sadly doesn’t sound quite as impressive live as it does on record, as the backing vocals of guitarist Matthew Gravolin and drummer Anthony Caruso get lost, though this is likely the fault of the equipment rather than the band themselves. The crowd barely stops moving for a second, and as Josh Carter from Chapter & Verse appears on stage for some brief guest vocals before crowdsurfing off, the stage lights can be seen rocketing precariously, and you wonder if the venue will make it out of this still standing.
New song ‘Smile’ is absolutely huge, with its immense hook guaranteed to be a fan favourite already. Recent single ‘X (Mwah)’ also soars and sees a flurry of pogoing, before the colossal chorus of ‘Thresher’ closes out the set.
Watching Hellions honestly feels like being at a house party watching your mate’s band tear up the living room. It’s a short and sweet show, but sometimes those are the best ones.