One downside to the mass influx of affluent, middle class clientele to the once gutter-cool borough of East London is that these fastidious wankers are selfishly demanding some more respectable properties to abide. A potential casualty of this urban and cultural redevelopment is The Macbeth pub, a venue that has stood proudly for over 100 years, servicing the cultural and liquid needs of the Hoxton community. The Macbeth is a sort of Hipster Tardis. From the outside it appears a rather grotty and unwelcoming East London boozer. But dwell within its walls long enough and it soon becomes apparent that this is an uber-cool, beat up party pub that caters nightly to the young, dumb and beautiful of Shoreditch.
There are currently plans afoot to convert the back of the venue into new, private residences that threaten to close this infamous, hipster hangout for good. Along with a petition that has been set up to try and halt this catastrophe, the pub is doing what it does best, promoting cheap gigs and showcase exciting, new artists in order to remind everyone that The Macbeth is indeed a venue that requires saving.
On this particularly balmy evening, the headline act were electro-indie, rising stars Is Tropical from the ever-impressive Kitsuné, stable. More than able support came courtesy of the exceptionally accomplished and androgynously sexy Vuvuvultures, the freewheeling, lo-fi talents of the fantastically named Fat White Family and all girl punk outfit Zoetrope.
However, this was Is Tropical’s night to shine. “At some point in our lives, i think every member of this band has worked in this place” declares emotional front man Gary Barber, before stirring the sweaty sea of baseball caps, beards and backpacks into a party fever, with an exhilarating set of almost perfect electro-indie.
Looking like Manson family rejects in a grungy, no frills mix of faded denim and retro T-shirts, the band well and truly did their former employers proud. Tearing through the majority of their latest studio offering Im Leaving, whilst also performing a smattering of funky nuggets from their first studio album Native To, the bands diverse set alternated effortlessly from one style to another.
From fast and furious indie rock numbers such as Lovers Cave, Toulouse and Cry to almost dreamy, beach-pop tunes Sun Sun and All Night, Is Tropical truly delivered a fantastically fresh and rousing call to arms. Latest single Dancing Anymore rightly proved the sing-along highlight of the night, closely followed by the wonderfully bittersweet and rather fitting Leave the Party, with the admirably knowledgeable crowd drunkenly bellowing every word to the heavens.
A raucous rendition of electro favourite The Greeks confirmed that this was a performance from a band that is on form, in the zone and on the rise. Dwarfed by their own spooky shadows on the back wall, courtesy of an old school, psychedelic light projector, circa 1969, the set rumbled, roared and bounced with an attitude, passion and confidence that would ably convince any crowd that Is Tropical are a band who are more than worthy of your attention.
By the time they reached set closer Seasick Mutiny, an unapologetically groovy, instrumental tour de force, with a riff Kasabian would be proud, people were literally dancing on the bar and rushing the stage. It would’ve been clichéd were the enthusiasm not so refreshingly genuine. This wasn’t the jaded, too-cool-to-move, shoe-gazing audience that can oft be found in this part of town. This was a proper party! There was something distinctly tribal in the musty Hoxton air. This was an important business; a cultural landmark was at stake after all. There was a clear obligation for everyone to go hard and make their feelings known by revelling like the end was nigh. On this showing, I just hope to god that the end for The Macbeth is a long way off indeed.