If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see a band play the gig of their lives. The one where everything clicks on stage, and that connection to the crowd fires. If you’re especially fortunate, you’ll see this rare occurrence happen at a festival, away from an audience full of already converted fans, where the good vibes extend outside of the usual bubble.
That’s exactly the charmed life Bad Sounds live at Reading 2018. A week to the day since they released their debut album ‘Get Better’, and they’re riding a wave that threatens to turn into a tsunami.
The Festival Republic tent isn’t overflowing, but it’s definitely packed at a time where the rest of the festival is preparing for Fall Out Boy to take on the Main Stage. Even those sparser edges feel full – not by bodies, but by genuine warmth from that packed centre.
Crushed together, jumping, signing, waving their arms in the air – they’re each locked in an emotional feedback loop with Callum and Ewan Merrett, the brothers that form the heart of Bad Sounds. During each song they go wild, to be greeted by wide grins and disbelieving expressions that this is really happening. Each time round, each only escalates the determination of the other to have the time of their lives. By midway through, both sides of the arrangement are absolutely flying.
It’s a situation helped by the fact that Bad Sounds only write bangers. Tonight, they sound like they should be headlining the whole shebang. Big, brassy and determined to please, they pack an energy that’s more than a match for any other act on the bill. It’s not just a case of constant motion, but the joy and abandon that accompanies it. Stalking the stage, busting out moves, lost in their own technicolour dreamworld, they’re a band putting faith in their own ability. As the stabs of ‘Wages’ send those clustered masses into a state of euphoria, they’re not the only ones, Everyone’s getting lucky tonight.
Words: Stephen Ackroyd