The Carnabys shook The Barfly to its foundation as a warm up for their forthcoming Peaches and Bleach UK tour.

The dark, grimy venue hosted the London boys for their first gig of the year. Packed to the rafters, their dedicated following chatter expectantly. This soon turns to hollering at a glimpse of the boys behind the lights followed by a thundering opener with “Great Dane in the Graveyard.” The Carnabys’ performance did much to earn their place in this prestigious venue, which has fostered big names such as The Strokes and Kasabian.

With only one album released, you might mistake the band for being young and unassuming. However, they’ve done gigs before Barfly worldwide, supporting infamous acts as Blondie and Patti Smith. From the tracks on their debut, No Money on the Moon, it is clear The Carnabys are developing a distinctively raw and punchy style. The guitarists channel bluesy influences from The Rolling Stones and The Who. Their lead singer, a powerful howling performer, gives the music a modern feel with a hint of early Alex Turner attitude.

The buzz of the crowd in the cramped venue amplified the difference in sound from the album to live. Near the front, the hysterical shouts and screams of female fans threaten to drown out the bellowing notes of lead vocalist, Jack Mercer. As the band played, heads banged and arms swayed in the crowd and on stage. Thumping bass and drums can be felt through the floorboards. The punch of the album definitely remained live.

Their “Jean Genie” David Bowie tribute showed an adeptness for covering the music of that era, but it couldn’t quite equal the original.

In addition to tracks from No Money on the Moon, The Carnabys played new material which received a positive crowd response. The new tracks achieve a more mature sound and the singing shows the potential of reaching that ever-difficult rawness The Arctic Monkeys are known for.

With a new album scheduled, 2016 holds a lot of potential for The Carnabys. Given their gig at the Barfly, their fans are ready and screaming for more.

Author: Alice Larsson

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