On the 30th of January, Jerry Williams, dubbed by Ticketmaster as ‘one to watch’ played the Camden Assembly with openers Flovwers and Wild Front.
Photo credit: Gareth Gatrell
Flovwers started off strong but very quickly became boring. Each song began to feel like I had found an “indie” playlist on Spotify and had pressed shuffle; it was unbelievably generic, as if they had found the formula to a good song and had repeatedly subscribed to it. I spent a good portion of their set trying to figure out which Indie band they sounded most similar to, finally settling on a combination of Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Wombats and The Temper Trap.
Then came Wild Front which, from the outset, felt like a breath of fresh air. It was clear this band was cleaner and had branched out, working with other genres in their music besides merely indie. Wild Front could be likened to Two Door Cinema Club, but with the elements of groove and rock dialled up, sometimes even hitting notes of The 1975’s earlier music. They are a much easier listen; they dabble in dull indie too but occasionally arise with a great song. “Circles”, for example, is swirling, driven by its base line but lulling you into a gentle bop - arguably their best song of the evening. Their songs sometimes feel indulgent, but Wild Front remain relaxed performers that are enjoyable to listen to. Giving credit where credit is due, they are a good band.
At last, Jerry Williams comes to the stage and I am immediately shocked. I do not think I have had the displeasure of hearing the distinct sound of high-pitched squeals from fifteen-year-old girls in a long time, and it is, in all honesty, strange to see that this is clearly the most receptive audience to her music. The noise makes me feel like I am in way over my head and this quickly proves itself to be true.
Williams is young and it shows. There is a lack of maturity in her music: her lyrics feel cliché and I have heard her chord progressions hundreds of times before. Williams’ sound does not provide any kind of actual substance or complexity. She is clearly accustomed to performance but still hits obnoxious notes. It feels as if she is indie’s bad answer to Ellie Goulding or Pixie Lott. Sure, she is a very able musician, but she also makes unmistakably boring music.
Her biggest hit, “Mother”, is played second and it is met with a similar squeal. It has over 5.5 million plays on Spotify, and I can understand why - it’s simple, sweet and likable, but that’s it. The highlight of an otherwise uninspiring gig was “David At The Bar,” which held the most weight from the whole set. It is about an alcoholic that Williams met in a pub and held a touching conversation with. The song rests on acoustic guitar, then attempting a rousing chorus, Williams sings: “here’s to a good life/ here’s to a long life/ you’re gonna have a good life/ just don’t do what I did.” Eventually, it reaches a crescendo in which the song is played with slightly more intensity.
She then goes on to perform “I’m Not In Love With You”, “Velcro”, “Get So Hard”, “Your Friends Not Mine”, “Proper Person” and “What Do You Want For Breakfast?” but there was nothing exceptional about any of them. The songs all blurred together into the swapping of guitars and Williams tossing her hair too frequently and too vigorously. I left early, about ten songs or so in. The show felt redundant with each song lacking distinct character. Overall, the show itself was alright, but full of run-of-the-mill indie tracks. It was listenable but nothing that could be deemed particularly special.
Edited by Evangeline Stanford