Date: October 25th 2018
Venue: Electric Ballroom, London
Support: Jule Vera / Hawthorne Heights / Hands Like Houses
If you’ve only come across and heard of New Hampshire’s Our Last Night in the past few years, chances are it’s because you’ve stumbled across one of their now many covers on YouTube. The thing is, they’ve got plenty of their own original cuts too.
They’ve decided to bring all of that along with a few other bands onto a tour across Europe, but to kick it all of they’re doing a one-off date at London’s Electric Ballroom in Camden, and the night itself is feeling a little electric too.
First up are Jule Vera , a pleasingly poppy quintet from Alabama, who sound like Taylor Swift if Taylor Swift was raised at Warped Tour. Frontwoman Ansley Newman is all smiles as she brings out a ukulele for the acoustic ‘Porch Swing’, and there’s an undeniably groovy riff on ‘Bad Company’ that could easily make a home on mainstream radio. Everything is very polished and fresh, but there’s little variation, and at times it’s so sugary you feel at risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Perfectly palatable, but best in small doses.
Hawthorne Heights , on the other hand, feel like they’d need a longer set to truly show off what they’re capable of. Harkening back to a time when your biggest worry was what song to put on your MySpace page – it was probably either ‘Niki FM’ or ‘Ohio Is For Lovers’, the irrepressible hooks of which tonight send you screaming back to 2006 – the band somehow manage to evoke fond nostalgia whilst also still sounding relevant, particularly on their newer material.
‘Bad Frequencies’ has a gritty breakdown that could rival the best of them, and whilst frontman JT Woodruff doesn’t sound quite as good as he used to, tonight is proof that even 14 years into their career, this band shows no signs of slowing down.
The first of the two headliners, Hands Like Houses , seem to have the most fans of the night if the cheers and sea of merch is anything to go by. Opening with ‘New Romantics’ and ‘Colourblind’, two of the biggest tracks from 2016’s ‘Dissonants’, the heat rises and the pit opens as vocalist Trenton Woodley warms up the crowd.
Having just released new album ‘-Anon.’, the band are keen to unleash some of the new songs live, and they end up sounding much better here in the Electric Ballroom than they do on record. ‘Monster’ sounds far less of a mediocre radio rock record when an entire crowd is screaming the hook, whilst ‘Tilt’ and ‘Overthinking’, two of the album’s standouts, easily measure up to the band’s older material.
That said, it’s the older tracks that seem to generate the most hype, a fact that’s illustrated when the unmistakeable opening of ‘Introduced Species’ causes an eruption. A highlight also comes in the form of a stunning rendition of ‘A Tale Of Outer Suburbia’, set to delicate strings from Matt Cooper, and Woodley‘s vocals sound phenomenal. The euphoric ‘No Parallels’ has the entire crowd jubilantly singing along, before a triumphant ‘I Am’ cements the knowledge that Hands Like Houses are truly back. In fact, it feels like they never really went away.
Whoever is doing the lights for Our Last Night  deserves a raise, as the show is nothing short of dazzling. Red and blue stripes shimmer across the stage amidst blinding strobes during the likes of ‘Ivory Tower’ and the infectious ‘Home’.
This band are probably better known for their covers than their original material, and they drop a handful in the set, though they’re a little hit and miss. Kendrick Lamar‘s ‘Humble’ sounds a bit half-arsed, but ‘1-800’ by Logic soars. Unfortunately, the sound short circuits halfway through the set for a good ten minutes, but the band keep everyone’s spirits up by taking it in turns to do drum solos. Nice one, lads.
The band’s original material is strong enough that you wonder why they bother with covers in the first place. Newbie ‘Soul Speak’ has a mighty riff from Matt Wentworth, and ‘Sunrise’ alone is such a banger that it’s surprising it hasn’t generated a series of covers of its own. If they could churn out a few more of this calibre, they could easily make a name for themselves as more than just “that one YouTube band.”
You can check out our full photo gallery from the show here.