Grouplove, Chad Valley, Big Deal
Rhian Daly 17/02/2011
It's not often fifth birthdays are celebrated in a bar, soundtracked by such diverse and alternative bands as those on tonight's bill. Then again, it is The Old Queen's Head's half decade we're celebrating. You'd be forgiven for thinking there'd been some mistake made but we're assured there hasn't - the venue's presence as a staple of London's live circuit just gives it an illusion of having been around forever.
The reason The OQH has been around so long? It knows how to throw a good party, a point which is proved tonight with a little help from promotors Oh! Inverted World. Getting off to a stunning start, shy duo Big Deal weave a web of rapture with lust-filled lyrics about boys and growing up, the dual guitars of KC Underwood and Alice Costelloe silencing the crowd before them as their masters swap glances from beneath their respective fringes.
The slow build continues with Oxford's Chad Valley, who segues one blissed out Balearic-tinged lullaby into the next, his serene voice sending out waves of shimmering tranquility. 'Up and Down' and 'Anything' are shuffling warm ups for what's coming next, that being an explosion of colour and unbridled joy.
Multinational bundles of fun Grouplove squeeze onto the tiny stage and immediately erupt like canons of glitter and confetti. Whipping their copious amounts of hair, the LA based band take this soiree from fun to flipping fantastic, inspiring some attendees to show their appreciation from the tops of tables. Sure, sometimes Grouplove can come across a little cheesy and at those times it does feel like you should feel guilty about enjoying their set but when you're faced with such carefree, playful tunes as 'Colours' and 'Naked Kids' it's hard to resist their charm. There's no place for grumps tonight, probably because even the most miserable of souls would find it hard not to at least crack a smile to Grouplove. If only every night could end like this.