Bang Bang Romeo are formidable. Their devotion to sound, image and community is one of the finest in the country. From stadiums in Europe to small venues across the UK, their sound is both versatile and eternally powerful. After years of touring, plotting and evolving, it is remarkable that the best is still yet to come for the Doncaster formed trio. But despite this, we still think you all need an introduction to Bang Bang Romeo.
Anastasia Walker (vocals), Ross Cameron (guitar), and Richard Gartland (drums) front the trio who rapidly emerged onto the independent circuit in 2014. The origins of the band were deep routed in the XFM phenomena of the time. They surfaced quickly onto the pub and small venue circuit alongside bands such as Blossoms and The Blinders. Bang Bang Romeo’s initial sound was deep routed in echoey guitar riffs and dazzlingly mesmeric choruses. If Last Shadow Puppets and Fleetwood Mac met on a hazy street corner in 1970s Los Angeles, they’d all be waiting for Bang Bang Romeo.
When considering this era of Bang Bang Romeo’s existence, ‘Johannesburg’ is perhaps the perfect point of call. At times mysterious, it is an embodiment of their dramatic guitar riffs and expansive vocals. Walker’s voice is outstanding, a true characteristic of every release which has followed. 2016s ‘Invitation’ is another atmospheric track. At times melodic, it confirmed the trio’s potential whilst creating somewhat of an overwhelming presence in the pubs and small venues of Britain. As word spread and crowds grew bigger it became clear very quickly that their sound was destined to only the biggest of stages.
Bang Bang Romeo’s musical evolution is a testament to both talent and forward planning. Any band needs to carefully consider the trends and musical direction of their industry, Walker and co. have done just that. With the band spending much of 2017 reworking and redefining their sound and live presence on the festival circuit, the release of ‘Shame On You’ in 2018 marked a real musical turning point. The introduction of synths and a drum machine was an unexpected yet perfect compliment to their already impressive brand of guitar and vocals. Suddenly, hazy and echoey chorus’ made way for something entirely more hypnotic. With critical support from outlets such as BBC Radio 1 and Virgin Radio, ‘Shame On You’ created both unprecedented excitement and marked the beginning of the band’s most fruitful period to date.
The band now find themselves under the Eleven Seven Label Group umbrella where, alongside many other perks, they will be releasing a debut album. Whilst at times unforgiving, the music industry is also exceptionally rewarding from time to time. Bang Bang Romeo are the epitome of a successful modern band. Life in a touring outfit is, of course, one of the most fun career paths in existence but its regularities are iceberg-like.
Offstage, one needs to plan, maintain a social media presence, control logistics, merchandise; all the while balancing said tasks with living costs and family lives. Bang Bang Romeo do all this. They have at times redefined what it means to be in a touring outfit, truly deserving of a recording contract and the rewards in which it entails.
If the band were an artist then the Shame On You EP is their equivalent of Van Gogh’s Sunflower series of paintings. It is their greatest release to date and the perfect starting point for any new listener. ‘Bag Of Bones’ is the most amazing amalgamation of reflective lyricism and post-pop-inspired effects. Old favourite ‘Chemical’ has also been reworked to suit a more relevant, atmospheric musical direction. With a powerful repertoire of meaningful tracks, it is unsurprising that they took the succeeding festival season by storm. From Sheffield’s Tramlines to the Isle of Wight Festival where they hit the main stage in sublime fashion.
Bang Bang Romeo’s sound is, of course, special. Equally as powerful is their message. They are lifelong advocates of the LGBT community. In fact, Walker, who goes by the name of Stars, may be one of the most inspirational musicians of all. Her openness has the ability to inspire and help those around her. Whether it be in relation to self-confidence, image, body dysmorphia or sexuality, by merely discussing these issues many are able to confide and feel a sense of individuality as a result of said messages.
As the band get bigger these messages become more important and more powerful. In an industry where being passive is standard, having the desire to spread important messages and speak one’s mind is commendable. This is far more than a musical movement, it often feels like the trio really wants to make the world a better place.
Sometimes, music works in circles. Early fans murmured, shouted even, that the band’s sound is suited to stadiums. This summer, such a statement became a reality as the supported P!NK on a European wide tour encompassing much of Germany, Holland, France and of course, Britain. On paper, one presumed that a two-night stint at Wembley was a highlight. In many senses, it was.
Most gloriously, however, were nights in Germany and Central Europe where new fans took to the band as their own. Whether it be in the cavernous Olympic Stadia of Munich and Berlin or the much newer arenas of Hamburg and Warsaw, it truly kickstarted the band’s first major foray into Europe. With more territory to explore, one can only assume that they will take to the continent in a similar manner to the likes of Depeche Mode and The Cure.
In a sense, it does feel a little counterproductive to still be introducing Bang Bang Romeo as a new band. Their musical experience has already been something quite special. Their fan base is ever-growing, with a devoted Facebook community known as the BBRMY acting as an external recruitment programme.
In spite of this, we’re still at the beginning of the band’s musical journey. With a debut album in the pipeline and a UK tour no doubt set to sell out, the band are destined only to the upper echelons of the musical pyramid.