AFTER LONDON: Old Blue Last
Updated: Oct 23, 2018
It’s 10am. I made it out of bed and into the university library without a whiff of a hangover. It may be too soon to tell, but I think I’m a survivor. It was only a mere 12 hours ago I was standing on the corner of Great Eastern street freezing my ass off, desperately waiting to have a chat with After London. I have come to the conclusion that I was only a little intoxicated, meaning my memory is serving me well. However, I reckon that even with a few more drinks down me, I still wouldn’t have forgotten indie rock band After London’s outstanding performance.
With my habit of cutting it fine, I arrived at the dome-shaped ‘Old Blue Last’ with only a short 20 minutes to spare. Whilst making a headstrong beeline for the bar, I noticed to my left a petite girl wearing black and white striped flairs and an oversized rucksack. After a foggy 10 seconds of wondering how the hell I knew this individual, I realised she was the lead singer of After London. She introduced herself as Francesca, and although was leaning heavily on the bar, wasn’t ordering the alcoholic drinks I was about to neck back. Instead she received a mug from the barman, filled to the brim with hot water and lemon. “I’m losing my voice”, she croaked.
I tell you now that there was no indication whatsoever when the band began playing, that the lead singer was at all struggling with her vocals. They were incredibly purposeful and powerfully driven, with clear emotional connection to the lyrics as well as an obvious love for performing. The combination of red and blue lighting immersed the musicians in a purple haze, and as they started to relax on the 3-ft raised stage, After London looked as though they were truly on cloud 9.
I was captivated by song after song, drawn in by the heavy bass, virtuosic drums, rich guitars and compelling front woman, who’s vocals never strayed from accuracy, even when moving about the stage. But I was most intrigued by the involvement of a violinist, who’s presence added a depth to the music that can only be described as intense. I also noticed that each member had a microphone and sang with Francesca on and off throughout certain tracks. I admire the skills After London demonstrated, the multi-talented band managed to turn a five-piece into an 8-piece, with what looked like natural ease.
The songs were certainly composed with audience inclusion in mind, there were several opportunities to sing along with the melody, which got people increasingly excited for the chorus’. My only regret is that I couldn’t join in, however I’m sure the footage I gained would have been ruined by loud, slurred yelling of “You’re so cold”.
The entire set was the longest I have seen from any upcoming band, and this is by no means a negative. In fact, by the end of their performance, the hyped crown members began chanting ‘encore’, to only receive a reply from the bassist that there were actually no more songs in their repertoire.
Once their set was truly over, I congratulated the musicians and prepared to have a chat with them when they’d finished packing down. After chilling (literally) outside for a while and hearing about my boyfriend witnessing a mugging on the other side of the road, After London were ready to have an interview. They’d obviously done this before, standing in a pre-planned order which allowed each individual to be seen and heard. I liked this confidence and organisation. Although it was brief, the short, but sweet interview reflected their music; passionate and direct, and the conversation beforehand made clear to me their friendly, down to earth nature.
I honestly believe that the best of After London is still yet to come, from the release of their debut EP, now a total of 5 singles, and another potential EP on the cards, this alternative indie band are seemingly full of musical creativity. I can’t wait to hear what’s next and I will certainly be attending another gig (drunk). Thank you After London.
Check out my video of the gig in the videos tab on this website; it includes footage of the venue, live clips, and the full interview with the band. And if you wanna have your own opinion on their music, click the link below to check out their Spotify releases now: