Live: Merchandise, Oslo, London

Preceded by an impressive and rawkus opening set from synth lead London punk’s Es, Merchandise played an intimate set at the Hackney venue. Playing songs from across their decade-spanning carrier the American band seemed in good spirits, joking with the crowd “We won’t mention politics; I know you’re hurting just like we are”. After Recently touring their newest release ‘A Corpse Wired for Sound’ they chose to provide the crowd with “A bunch of songs, some new ones, some we haven’t played for a long time”.

Frontman Carson Cox’s vocals where impressively honed to the point he could moonlight on the West End, which with the slightly disappointing audience attendance might not be too bad of an idea. Switching between guitar, mic-in-hand rock star bravado and “the tiny, tiny keyboard” Cox and co. ran through numbers such as ‘Time’, ‘In the Nightmare Room’ and ‘Lonesome Sound’. The show seemed much more guitar focused than previous performances although a few synth-led numbers like ‘Right Back to the Start’ did shine through.

Guitarist David Vassalotti spent much of the show floor bound performing his guitar pedal wizardry and mesmerising technique, a feat worthy of an audience on its own. With the notoriously hard to pin down sound of the band no longer leaning towards glooming hardcore or electronic post punk, their current embodiment seems to have matured more to what can be best described as stadium rock for the smaller stage.

You can catch them on the rest of their European tour through out April, and watch the video to their recent single ‘Right Back to the Start’ below:

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