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Gig review: The Snuts @ O2 Academy Bristol

The Snuts return to Bristol for the first time in four years with an evident increased buzz around the Scottish indie band.

The Snuts @ O2 Academy Bristol / Gus Harrison 

By Gus Harrison, Third Year Law

Commencing the first concert of their huge UK album tour, The Snuts returned to Bristol for the first time in four years with an evident increased buzz around the Scottish indie band.

Their long-awaited return to Bristol served as a stark reminder of the band’s growth in popularity from the humble 140 capacity venue of The Louisiana to a sold out show at the O2 Academy. The traction that the band have gained in recent years could be attributed to their more politically driven music; acting as a mouthpiece for political frustration from their fanbase.

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The excitement for the gig was apparent from the audible buzz emanating from the huge queue formed some time before the doors opened. The queue continued to grow, watched smugly by me and my mate from the comfort of The Hatchet Inn, safe in the knowledge that the press passes allowed us to jump the queues.

Upon entrance to the gig and after the obligatory bar run to grab a horrendously overpriced Carlsberg, we entered the crowd where the cross-generational appeal of the band was clear to see. Older fans of Britpop to younger fans of more recent indie music were all gathered in one room; united by their mutual appreciation of this little indie band from Scotland.

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The support act was a familiar face in the form of Heidi Curtis, who I’d previously met when she supported her fellow Geordie Sam Fender at the Trinity Centre in Bristol. Heidi was the perfect support for The Snuts; providing the crowd with a blend of upbeat, guitar-heavy music as well as slower, more ethereal tunes. A personal highlight was her cover of Bowie’s ‘Moonage Daydream’ which was well received by the crowd, though evidently more so by the older members.

Heidi Curtis @ O2 Academy Bristol / Gus Harrison

After Curtis’ performance, the crowd had a 30 minute wait before The Snuts would be on stage; ample time for the atmosphere within the venue to develop even more. The Snuts greeted the atmosphere by arriving on stage with the song ‘Pigeons in New York’ off their new album Burn The Empire. The choice of song, being one of the weaker tunes The Snuts have ever produced, somewhat lulled the crowd’s excitement. The political direction of their new music was immediately apparent in the gig with much of the setlist comprising of songs off their new politically driven album. As such, fans of their older music, such as myself, found themselves frustrated at a lack of representation for their older, more anthemic music, replaced instead by their new, more commercial sound.

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Frustrations over their choice of songs, though, was remedied by the energy and overall performance that the 5-piece brought to the stage. Following their first song with ‘Glasgow’, a song that was instrumental in the growth in popularity of the band, The Snuts straight away lifted the vibe of the crowd back up. The rest of the setlist consisted of a few of their classic tracks, ‘Maybe California’ and ‘Always’ being personal favourites, but largely littered with the mandatory new album songs.

This, however, did not take too much away from the performance. A special shoutout must be given to the set design and lighting team; graphics of political leaders and statistics relating to crime and poverty gave the impression that the band had put a lot of effort in to creating a set which would lead a lasting impression on the crowd.

The Snuts brought a great energy, jumping around on stage, mirroring the fans in front of them, you could tell that the band were enjoying the first night of their tour; enthused by the size of the crowd in front of them. Speaking to the frontman, Jack Cochrane, and the drummer, Jordan Mackay, after the gig, they told us that it was one of the better gigs they’d ever done.

Overall, whilst there were slight disappointments in relation to the setlist, the performance itself was great. The energy that the crowd produced, great showmanship from the front man, as well as the great lighting and set design.

Listen to The Snuts here: