As It Is celebrated the release of their album ‘Never Happy, Ever After’ with a gig at Camden’s Barfly. Here’s what we learned during a very sweaty Monday evening in London NW1.
**AS IT IS ARE ALREADY GOING PLACES **For the uninitiated, these East Sussex pop punks are already a sizeable proposition. Their show at the Barfly was booked to celebrate the launch of their debut album, Never Happy, Ever After and has long sold out – impressive, seeing as their first full-length was only released that very morning. Of course, their star has been in the ascendant since their video for Dial Tones hit the internet and has, to date, had over 900,000 plays and counting. Sure, their vocalist Patty Walters was already something of a star in his own right due to his previous life on YouTube, but let’s not dick around here – this is a mighty set of stats for a band that didn’t even have an album out until a few hours ago.
**THEIR SINGLE ‘DIAL TONES’ IS THE REAL DEAL **If you’ve been lucky to see a band exploding in front of your eyes (metaphorically speaking), then you’ll know what it sounds, looks and feels like. Imagine seeing a crowd lose its marbles while watching a fledgling Sum 41 play Fat Lip, or more recently, see The Story So Far detonate Quicksand and bring about an energy surge that pulsates throughout the room. It’s an undeniable sensation. So when As It Is launch into Dial Tones, they turn the Camden Barfly into the happiest place on earth. The crowd turns into a melee of bodies and smiles, both on and offstage. When they play this song at Slam Dunk next month, you might want to take cover.
**THEY’RE EVEN BETTER LIVE **Let’s not beat around the bush here. On record, they’re a little lightweight in terms of aggression and overall power. But in a live setting, they’re a very different animal. Take Patty Walters’ leaping, fist-throwing, head-banging stage persona, for example. He wouldn’t look out of place fronting a band like H20 or Comeback Kid and it gives this Brighton-based quintet the necessary edge that stops everything from being that little bit too nice. The band also play with more fire in their bellies than they did in the studio, making Bitter, Broken Me and Cheap Shots And Setbacks particularly special moments this evening. A special shout out must also go to guitarist Ben Biss, whose vocal skill set is improving at an impressive rate.
**THIS BAND ARE NOT FOR EVERYONE – BUT THAT DOESN’T MATTER **There is much about As It Is that will grate on many people’s nerves. In terms of attitude, they make Good Charlotte look like Black Flag and the sneer brigade will quickly point out that their audience is largely comprised of teenage girls. They’ll add that Walters’ vocals are of the nasal, overly-American variety that can be filed under ‘acquired taste’. He was born in Minneapolis, to be fair. But not that anybody here gives a monkey’s tit; they’re here having the loveliest, non-cynical of times. Even the line of parents at the back of the room look up from their phones to raise a smile occasionally.
THIS BAND ARE READY FOR THE NEXT LEVEL After seeing Pvris take a nervy London bow last week, tonight’s gig hammers home how completely ready this band are to take their shot at the big time. Professional, slick and with the crowd in the palm of their hand, they create Disneyland levels of good-time vibes. They’re the first band from the UK to sign to the prestigious Fearless Records and they’re currently preparing to spend this summer making many friends on the US Warped Tour. People absolutely love As It Is and you’re going to be hearing an awful lot about them in the coming months.
Photos: Will Ireland