The energy, enthusiasm and audience connection that easy life brought to Brighton Dome will be hard to top anytime soon
Image: Bethany-Jo O’Neill
When I saw that easy life were headlining a venue like Brighton Dome, I was slightly apprehensive. How were a band touring their debut album going to command a stage like that? Well the three hours I spent there on Monday night was a true masterclass in how to do so.
Before easy life took to the stage, support act Berwyn got the crowd ready and excited. Fresh from his MOBO nomination for ‘Best Newcomer’, the singer graced the stage with the type of energy that is immediately infectious throughout a room. One of the most touching moments of the night was Berwyn living his dream of playing guitar on a big stage, which he did excellently accompanied by the crowd clapping along in encouragement. Berwyn’s standout track was new release, ‘MIA’, which has recently, and deservedly, been included on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist.
Even before easy life started their performance, I was impressed. You don’t see too many bands taking the time to think about staging anymore, but easy life took a simple yet effective approach with the white wooden waves they scattered across the stage as a nod to the name of debut album, life’s a beach. Further to this, their lighting was second to none. The ‘EASY LIFE’ lettering at the back of the stage lit up letter by letter, building the suspense for the band to make their entrance.
easy life had the audience in their pocket from the outset
easy life had the audience in their pocket from the outset. The crowd joined in with the ‘na na’ section of ‘pockets’, followed by a rapturous sing-a-long to the track’s chorus. Lead singer Murray Matravers looked thoroughly chuffed with the reception their opening had received and said: “You’re bringing a tear to my eye, I must be drunk”. This set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Joining easy life on stage were a brass trio who did not stop dancing all evening, including during radio hit ‘daydreams’. The track got a complete singalong from the adoring crowd, who also followed Matravers’ instruction to get up on shoulders. The song provided a feel good atmosphere which emanated throughout the entire room. It also had a very impressive sax solo from multi-instrumentalist Sam Hewitt.
At this point in the show, Matravers recognised the potential with this venue to interact with the crowd even further – the crowd surf. The singer asked the crowd, “would you catch me?”, which was always going to be an emphatic yes. The promise materialised during ‘ojpl’ to the audience’s, and Matravers’, delight.
The connection between the band and the crowd was undeniable, but ‘homesickness’ demonstrated the camaraderie and friendship within the unit of the band itself. Matravers sat on the edge of the stage part way through this track to sing directly to the front row in an intimate moment between the band and the immediacy of the crowd.
The connection between the band and the crowd was undeniable
Envious of the audience interaction Matravers was receiving, drummer Olly Cassidy decided to get in on the action during ‘temporary love part 2’. This was a toned down and heartfelt performance which Cassidy was able to enjoy from the crowd, whilst also getting in on fan selfies and introductions. This beautiful performance also included the most in-time crowd handclap I have seen outside of the Icelandic national football team.
Due to the absence of the magnificent Arlo Parks, Matravers encouraged the audience to take over the songstress’ part in their collaboration track, ‘sangria’. The crowd took on the honour excellently, leading to a role reversal for Matravers who applauded the audience for their involvement.
As predicted in my preview of the gig, ‘skeletons’ got the best reaction of the evening. Matravers expanded his job title to include conductor of mosh as he organised the multiple pits in the crowd to come together as one. The singer also adorned a pink wig which was thrown onto the stage half way through the song to further extend the mayhem caused by the fast-paced track. As the song ended, Matravers said: “You guys crushed that, that was insane. Let’s do it again”, which he proceeded to do in a slightly toned-down manner in appropriately named track ‘slow motion’. ‘slow motion’ could have been the perfect ending song for the gig, but easy life still had more up their sleeve.
Matravers expanded his job title to include conductor of mosh
Before the group launched into their highly requested encore, Hewitt entered the stage alone to treat the crowd to his impressive keyboard skills. This eventually descended into numerous glissandos from one end of the keyboard to the other, much to the crowd’s delight. The rest of the band then returned to the stage to have some more fun.
Cassidy crowd surfed and then dared Matravers to dive into the crowd from the tallest speaker in the building. Not one to shy away from a dare, the singer obliged after a quick prayer during track ‘nightmares’, which aptly included the lyrics: “it’s all a bit of fun until somebody gets hurt”. The crowd went wild and took over Matravers’ singing duties as he struggled to make his way back to the stage. These sorts of antics are usually a security team’s worst nightmare, but credit to the team at Brighton Dome who saw the funny side and allowed the contained chaos to continue.
Although I thought ‘slow motion’ satisfied the conditions for the ultimate closing track, easy life of course knew better. The band bought the party to Brighton Dome one last time by ending the night with, again appropriately named track, ‘music to walk home to’. Matravers went around properly introducing and thanking each individual member in turn so that they got the recognition from the crowd they deserved.
I have not seen a band connect with an audience like easy life did at Brighton Dome in a very long time. They filled the hall with energy, enthusiasm and volume that will be difficult to match. Although I was initially surprised at the band headlining a stage as big as Brighton Dome, I would now not be surprised to see easy life performing to sold out arenas in the not too distant future.
life’s a beach is available now via Island Records
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