Social Contract @ The Old Blue Last

27 August 2019

A frantic, psychedelic epiphany above a bar in Shoreditch is not what we expected from a nondescript Thursday night in the capital.
Image for Social Contract @ The Old Blue Last

‘Indie’ guitar music is still reeling from the oversaturated and overhyped landfill indie scene of the mid 00s, where any four lads with guitars and trendy haircuts were plucked off the streets and given massive record deals. It seems the industry hasn’t learnt its lesson from those heady days either, you just have to trawl through the line up at Reading & Leeds for scores of soundalike lad bands who are trying to write the next ‘Chelsea Dagger’. It’s a sight and sound that can leave you feeling despondent and nihilistic, maybe we should let guitar music die.

It was with this bright and chirpy outlook on life that we headed to The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch, a boozer with a sordid past run by the folks at Vice, that has played host to thousands of household names since its reincarnation in 2004. Heading upstairs with a can of Old Blue Last Beer in hand, we walked into a dimly lit, blue-hued room with a diminutive stage, made even smaller by the presence of six-piece Organ Morgan squeezed onto it. Unfortunately, we only caught the dying seconds of the bands folky and melancholic set which was well received by the incredibly trendy crowd which had amassed in the top room.

Organ Morgan

Image for Organ Morgan

Up step Truman Dinosaur, a band we last saw supporting Jaws on their UK tour earlier this year. Truman Dinosaur are an amalgamation of all that is good with the 80s. It’s almost as if they handpicked the best parts of the much maligned decade and moulded and shaped it into this funky, unique and utterly entrancing bolt of alternative pop. The band jumped and jived through their set, which had all but the barman on their feet and moving. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who wouldn’t at least bob their head to the infectious grooves laid down by the five lads in Truman. They’re a band who we will definitely be seeing again, and unless you’re opposed to having a good time we suggest you see them too.

Truman Dinosaur

Image for Truman Dinosaur

As you can probably tell, our opinion of indie guitar music in the UK is pretty bleak, with thousands of bands with Noel Gallagher haircuts and Pigeon Detective rip-off tunes stagnating the genre and somehow gaining airtime and slots at major festivals. With that said, up step tonight’s headliners Social Contract to break through the dark and gloomy clouds and shine an intense light on the indie landscape, displaying how it could and should be. Rather than rehashing an already tired sound, the band have formed an entirely unique one with elements of prog, shoegaze, psychedelia, metal and indie all rolled into an incredibly melodic and catchy package.

We were first introduced to this sound with the bands groundbreaking EP, Common Tongue, released earlier this year. The band opened with the first track off said EP, The Devil’s Sweat. An incredible introduction to the evening that was to come, highlighting how incredibly tight the four piece are, with duelling guitars and thunderous, driving bass which breaks for the warbling and beautiful vocals from Josh Eggerton, reminiscent of a young Morrissey.

We move swiftly onto the second track from Common Tongue, Hoist Their Heads. This is probably our favourite of the tracks off the EP, but live it transcends the promise shown on record and blossoms into a different beast entirely. The bass carries us gently into the track, and then seemingly out of nowhere the duelling guitars pop back in with an instantly iconic riff that leads us up and back down the fretboard. The fast tempo had the crowd bouncing, and Josh’s passionate cries of ‘Are we dreaming?’ were echoed back. I couldn’t help but imagine the band playing this at a festival, just as the scorching sun is dropping out of the sky, being enjoyed by thousands upon thousands of fans. This is a massive tune and it deserves a lot more recognition than it has.

Then, just as on the EP, the band slowed the tempo in anticipation for Common Tongue. Unlike the EP, where the track starts with a reverb laden jangly guitar intro, the band dropped down into an almost doom metal chug that had me pulling *that* face and mouthing ‘phwoar’. This led into the most psychedelic musical experience of the evening, and we drifted off with the band before they crashed us back down with the duelling riff first heard in Hoist Their Heads and then carried us off into a noise-laden outro.

This was an incredibly special evening. Our doom and gloom with which we arrived was nowhere to be seen by the end. Social Contract are a band that display everything great about the UK indie scene. They are a band without pretense, who have carved their own sound and yet have avoided the over indulgence that that can sometimes bring. They are an incredibly tight live band, incredible songwriters and musicians and it won’t be long until they attract the interest of major labels.

Guitar music isn’t dead, and as long as bands like Social Contract continue to create such beautiful art and perform it with the intense passion and wrought energy as they did at The Old Blue Last, then it will continue to live on triumphantly.

Social Contract

Image for Social Contract

We were first introduced to this sound with the bands groundbreaking EP, Common Tongue, released earlier this year. The band opened with the first track off said EP, The Devil’s Sweat. An incredible introduction to the evening that was to come, highlighting how incredibly tight the four piece are, with duelling guitars and thunderous, driving bass which breaks for the warbling and beautiful vocals from Josh Eggerton, reminiscent of a young Morrissey.

We move swiftly onto the second track from Common Tongue, Hoist Their Heads. This is probably our favourite of the tracks off the EP, but live it transcends the promise shown on record and blossoms into a different beast entirely. The bass carries us gently into the track, and then seemingly out of nowhere the duelling guitars pop back in with an instantly iconic riff that leads us up and back down the fretboard. The fast tempo had the crowd bouncing, and Josh’s passionate cries of ‘Are we dreaming?’ were echoed back. I couldn’t help but imagine the band playing this at a festival, just as the scorching sun is dropping out of the sky, being enjoyed by thousands upon thousands of fans. This is a massive tune and it deserves a lot more recognition than it has.

Then, just as on the EP, the band slowed the tempo in anticipation for Common Tongue. Unlike the EP, where the track starts with a reverb laden jangly guitar intro, the band dropped down into an almost doom metal chug that had me pulling *that* face and mouthing ‘phwoar’. This led into the most psychedelic musical experience of the evening, and we drifted off with the band before they crashed us back down with the duelling riff first heard in Hoist Their Heads and then carried us off into a noise-laden outro.

Josh Eggerton, Social Contract

Image for Josh Eggerton, Social Contract

This was an incredibly special evening. Our doom and gloom with which we arrived was nowhere to be seen by the end. Social Contract are a band that display everything great about the UK indie scene. They are a band without pretense, who have carved their own sound and yet have avoided the over indulgence that that can sometimes bring. They are an incredibly tight live band, incredible songwriters and musicians and it won’t be long until they attract the interest of major labels.

Guitar music isn’t dead, and as long as bands like Social Contract continue to create such beautiful art and perform it with the intense passion and wrought energy as they did at The Old Blue Last, then it will continue to live on triumphantly.

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