Two of the most buzz-worthy bands of the last few years, The 1975 and Catfish and The Bottlemen, both supported Little Comets in the run up to each of their explosions into the mainstream and that is something that tonight’s support, Model Aeroplanes would no doubt be happy to emulate.
The fact that about a million other young guys their age are in very similar bands right now doesn’t hinder them, in fact it seems to highlight how much tighter they are than the majority.
The bass and drums pulse together lushly, and the lead guitar is a tropical sounding weapon.
After a while though, it feels like they would really benefit from a bit more variety in their songwriting as the pace doesn’t really change and the set blends itself into an inseparable meld of tunes, which sound a bit too much like one another.
There is still a massively impressive aspect to Model Aeroplanes however, and in terms of tightness and live production I’d go as far to say that they rival Little Comets.
‘The Gift of Sound’ opens the set for tonight’s headliners, a track from the new album, which is punctuated by syncopated rhythms and the band’s typical penchant for crafting complicated songs that sound simple and absurdly catchy.
Little Comets perform with a level of professionalism that allows their humble, “just normal guys” attitude to sit comfortably beside musical intelligence and their unique capabilities as songwriters, in a manner that bounces these traits very positively off each other.
‘A Little Opus’ receives the first crowd participation of the night, with one section shouting the guitar melody, something that has apparently never happened before.
This song is a solid showing of Little Comets’ instrumental abilities and in the latter half of the song rhythms slide over one another seamlessly, but in a way that I just can’t figure out how to explain properly.
If you get the chance, look up the lyrics to ‘Violence Out Tonight’ while listening to the song.
This evening it provides a melancholy, yet powerful lull and is one of the highlights of the set, alongside new song ‘My Boy William’, which features a backing track bridge of (what I assume) is a recording of Coles’ young boy saying cute toddler things.
It seems the sing-along factor of their straight-up-indie first album is going to be the most popular thing about tonight’s set, as the crowd loses it when ‘Joanna’, ‘One Night In October’ and ‘Dancing Song’ are played.
Maybe a lot of their fans have a nostalgic love for this album, but with each new release, Little Comets have grown and some of the new songs don’t get the level of adoration that they deserve.
In fleeting moments, frontman Rob Coles even looks mildly dejected by the constant shouts for songs from their first album.
They finish up the set with second album track ‘In Blue Music We Trust’, which has been modified to be more intense for live purposes, with flashing strobe lights and a climax that bursts the seams of what to expect from the Newcastle band.
Overall, what Little Comets present is clever without any hint of pretention, and admirably encouraging to younger bands and fans alike.
Instead of indulging in an encore, they immediately move to their merch table to engage with the crowd on ground level for one final example of how independent bands can succeed by treating their fans with a personable quality.
Words: Greg Murray
Photos: Robert Adam