After months of waiting, last week we finally got the chance to see what we (and now most of the mainstream music press) believe to be one of the most exciting acts to come out of the UK in a long time. Thanks to the good people at Eat Your Own Ears, The Victoria in Hackney hosted the first London performance of Stay +, the new moniker for crumble favourites, Christian AIDS. Following legal action from the chairty of the same name, the guys have had to change their name and branding a little bit, but rest assured the music is just as good as before if not better.
The whole set up of the gig was a bit weird. The room was pitch black except for the warming glow of the projector screens at the far end of the room. It felt more like an art installation than a live performance. The guys haven’t played many performances so far, I think this was something like their fourth, so they haven’t quite got a road crew set up yet and had to do most of the preparation themselves. After a little bit of popping on and off stage finally they took their places behind their macbooks, four people appeared at the front of the stage wearing ‘S’ ‘T’ ‘A’ & ‘Y’ t-shirts and the room filled with hipsters.
To be fair to the guys, they really do put a lot of thought, preparation and effort into their performance. As well as having people stand at the front of the stage for the whole show in complete silence, they also have the three projector screens for their visuals, two LED light bars that they’ve brought with them and even the little apple logos on their macbooks have been customised to look like little ‘+’ signs. Despite the fact that they haven’t got much of a budget it doesn’t stop them from putting on an incredibly impressive show.
They kicked off with one of the few tracks that have been doing the rounds on youtube, ‘Fever’. The instantly gripping intensity was built up to a mighty crescendo beautifully accentuated by the live vocals (both male and female) which I didn’t realise they would have. They rattled through the tracks (some familiar ‘Young Luv’, ‘Scum’ and ‘Stay +’ and some new) relentlesly without leaving pause for breath let alone applause. I later found out the combo behind Stay + are actually a two piece, complemented by two live vocalists. While one is taking care of the sound, the other is video editing live to the music with incredible effect. Although the format may not be particularly new, the energy of the performance is definitely original.
The weird thing is, the whole thing is like an art piece. The video editing is like their youtube clips, graphic and visceral whilst retaining an element of intellectual awareness and social comment. The effect is fantastic, but also confusing. Quite often I was caught in two minds whether or not I should be standing and appreciating or jumping around and dancing. I think what the guys need is someone to give them an opportunity to play one of their sets in a much bigger club with a much louder sound system. A pub in Hackney is fine for most bands starting out, but these guys deserve something much bigger.
I can’t really do the energy of the performance justice. And considering that they are still relatively new to performing and the they can already deliver such quality, I highly recommend you go and check them out yourselves as soon as you get the first opportunity. Unfortunately, that won’t be at 1-2-3-4 this weekend. After chatting to the guys afterwards I found out that they have unfortunately had to pull out. But fear not, crumble’s favourite band from Manchester to not be born, live or work in Manchester, are sure to reappear in the capital soon enough. As soon as we find out when, you’ll be the first to know!