BLACKEYE are back in the north of England. Having impressed at Zanzibar at Liverpool Sound City a few weeks earlier, the currently three-piece band were back to woo some new fans beyond the bounds of their home city of London. Fronted by the refreshingly forthright Chloe Little, Blackeye has pumped out some stunning recorded tracks online and some fun videos that ooze DIY energy – this is a band who have a knack of producing songs with great headbanging hooks.
Here at the sold-out Deaf Institute, we’re surrounded by young teenage girls who are keen to see headline band SWIM DEEP. The merch desk is laid out with Swim Deep garb – we’re particularly tickled by the Swim Deep socks, which Chloe is supportively sporting tonight. It’s great to see bands thinking out of the box, something that is becoming more important in the industry as time ticks on.
As the giggling crowd pack themselves towards the stage, we’re wondering how they’re going to take Chloe et al. After a few tracks, the crowds warm up to the band – they’re a breath of fresh air for these teens who don’t seem to have seen a female-led band in a while or at all in some cases, and whoops finish up every track.
Cradling her bass, Chloe sings with a stance and a look which captivates the crowds as they obediently watch and listen to her. The band are having a lot of fun on stage, and as they pound out “Growing Pains” and “Spin” to crashing drums and screaming guitar sounds. “What are you called??” yells out an eager young female voice. The band introduce themselves, and Chloe seems delighted and slightly overwhelmed by the attention from the mostly female audience. They’ve found a whole new fanbase overnight.
Again, as in Liverpool, Chloe’s solid vocals are a little distorted by male guitarist Banks’ harmonies, which is a shame but they’re definitely not as distracting as in Sound City. Without that, you have pretty much a perfect band sound. They’re clearly still finding their feet onstage, but the sounds far outweigh the nerves.
New track “FTNA” (Fuck The Night Away) is another brilliantly catchy song and it’s great to hear a woman singing her heart out on stage using the F word and quite happily doing so, repeatedly, while ploughing the bass. They are reminiscent of some powerful female bands of the 90s, and the UK music industry is better off for housing Blackeye. Where they head and what choices they make to capitalise on Chloe’s charisma and the promising tracks will depend very much on the band and the next step they take to navigate the industry. As long as they can come to terms with why they’re garnering so much attention and embrace their uniqueness, they have a long and interesting career ahead of them.