Live review: Spector deliver vigorous set at 100 Club

Tom Ronan 28 April 2015

Much has happened since East London five-piece Spector’s debut album in 2012. One band member has left, one has joined, two existing members have taken on new roles, and singer Fred Macpherson’s hair has reached Joey Ramone lengths. Live appearances, though, have been few and far between in recent times. Instead of inducing ring-rustiness, however, Spector seem to have spent their time offstage reinvigorating their musical mojo, which is in ample supply in the dark, intimate confines of Oxford Street’s 100 Club on this balmy London spring evening.

Macpherson is a frontman to be reckoned with from the off, immediately establishing a rapport with the crowd in his own inimitable way. The fourth wall is ransacked as he seeks and maintains eye contact with various people at the front of the clamouring crowd, an experience I enjoyed first-hand. He is jocund throughout, even gamely improvising an a-cappella version of recently released song ‘Strong Look’ when failing technology renders the band’s keyboard obsolete towards the end of their set.

Vocally and musically, the band has never sounded stronger. Spector’s new album, Moth Boys, is due out later this year, and on this evidence, there is much to look forward to. The conscious, doom-laden opulence which was the trademark of Enjoy It While It Lasts is still discernible, but new songs ‘Kyoto Garden’ and ‘Bad Boyfriend’ are respectively laced with more subtlety and reflection. The latter of these, the A-side to B-side ‘Strong Look’, is rapturously received, musically infectious and lyrically delightful: ‘Baby if you think you’re lonely now, just wait ’til we’re alone’.

Though Enjoy It While It Lasts gets only a look-in in a setlist understandably dominated by new material, ‘Twenty Nothing’, ‘Celestine’ and ‘Chevy Thunder’ are all mayhem-inducing. The latter, played for a second time towards the evening’s dénouement, is a particularly good example of the reciprocal devotion between band and audience, who passionately hang on every word.

The appearance of ‘All The Sad Young Men’, the imminent album’s opener which Macpherson rightly considers the best song Spector have yet written, is unfortunately scuppered by the abovementioned technological strife. The band-crowd rapport, Macpherson’s charisma and the scintillatingly vigorous music render this but a footnote in a feverish evening dominated by mutual love.