On Friday the 13th of December, The Faim played at the Electric Ballroom, supported by Cemetery Sun and Hot Milk. Electric Ballroom is a music venue situated in the heart of Camden Town- it first opened in 1938. It began as an Irish pub and transitioned into the vibrant venue that’s there today. It has a capacity of 1,500 and has been host to a variety of musicians and bands across the decades.
Cemetery Sun came on first. They set up their own equipment, bringing out a box for the front of the stage. Before they even began playing, the vocalist was sitting on the stage. I saw him talking to the people in the crowd, before going to help the rest of the band again. They came from California, and were formed in 2013. The music itself is a mixture of pop and alternative rock- the vocals were usually a twist on the type of vocals you’d get in pop, but the music was dominated by the guitar and drums. The drummer and bassist would join in on the vocals, giving their music a more filled out and developed feeling. Every now and again, the vocalist would scream the more emotional lyrics, blurring the lines between genres. They got the crowd involved with their energetic movement across the stage, and the engagement with the crowd. They ended on “Fake Love”, during which the crowd pulled out their phones, lighting up the room with the torches. They opened the stage well, preparing the crowd for an amazing night.
After some more set up, Hot Milk took the stage. Before they came on, the crowd had begun to chant their name, the voices echoing throughout the venue. When the Mancunian band stepped onto the stage, cheers erupted from the chants. The band had two vocalists, neither one being the main one. On each song, one of them dominated the verses, but it never felt like one was more prominent than the other. Both vocalists could play the guitar, passing the instrument between them and alternating on different songs. Other than that, there was a bassist and a drummer. The drums and guitars drove the music, creating a heavier sound. The vocals were also heavier, with the same sporadic screaming. They talked a lot about politics and the vote that had happened the day before, and expressed an acceptance of all people, regardless of race and sexuality. The bassist went into the crowd at one point, before running back around the pit. Then, during a different song, the female vocalist opened a gap in the crowd, and sat in the centre of it to sing. The combination of the higher and lower voices and the pure energy they had on stage created an extremely engaging performance, one where it felt like there was no distance between the band playing, and the audience who came to watch them. They also hinted that they would be going on tour next year, coming back to London.
Hot Milk left the stage, and the intermission music went from playing early 2000s pop-punk to 90s grunge. Immediately I felt like this would be different to the two support bands. The Faim are an Australian band, who began making music as a band formed by high school students while they studied in Perth. Their careers began by handing out flyers outside of larger Australian venues, but only took off fully as they started to work with John Feldmann. They renamed themselves The Faim (French for “The Hunger”). In the summer of 2017, they went to LA and began recording their songs. They completed two songs a day, before picking up touring.
Before The Faim took to the stage, an opening track played. It talked about music, light, and guitars. While the track played, the stage was shrouded in blue smoke, almost in darkness, but not quite. When the band finally came on, they started their set with “Tongue Tied”. The music was fast-paced, and could best be described as alternative rock music. The music was drum heavy, with melodic guitar riffs cutting through the deep sounds of a bass. The bassist was also given a keyboard, which he used sporadically throughout the whole show. They also utilised backing tracks, playing whistled tunes over the speakers in the background of some songs. But the vocals were strong, grabbing the attention of everyone in the audience. You couldn’t help but listen in awe as he belted out those powerful notes.
There was almost a uniform for the band members – the guitarist and bassist sported pinstripe trousers and a black t-shirt, while the vocalist wore a suit. Josh, the vocalist, was extremely charismatic. He often referred to the audience as “my beautiful people”, and would physically throw himself into the music, as if it was taking him over. The mic stand almost moved with him, and he clung to it at times, using it to balance himself as he went with the music. He spoke to the audience a lot – discussing how grateful he was to be there, but also touching on how hard it was to be away from home for months at a time.
The part of the set that stuck with me most was when they played “Worlds Apart”- it started off with just Josh on the stage, beginning to sing. Piece by piece the keyboard was bought in, then the guitar, then the bass, then the drums. Eventually, it came together and sounded like a complete song. But that slow build-up and layering of the pieces made it feels all the more special and emotional when the song eventually pieced together. When the set was done, they still didn’t leave. Minutes were filled by the crowd cheering for them- clapping, shouting, showing their love for this band that had come from the other side of the world to play this music for them. Josh hugged the other members, and a member of their team came out and hugged them too. This was the last show of the tour, and it ended on adoration and gratitude from both sides. None of the members could stop smiling as they looked around each other, and the crowd only stopped briefly when they stopped to take a photo with the audience, and then eventually when the band had to leave the stage (curfews ruin everything).
By the end of this show, I had seen three incredible bands. I went in knowing about The Faim – I knew they were Australian, and I knew what type of music they played, but I came out loving their songs. I also became a fan of Cemetery Sun and Hot Milk and haven’t been able to stop listening to all three bands since. I can’t wait until they tour again, and I wish them the best of luck in their musical careers!
Photos by Abi Rose Photography