Childhood have shed their skin as a dream-pop indie band, and grown up (ironically), developing a stylishly funky old-school sound, with the look to match. The main room of London’s Scala had been turned into a 1970’s throwback, with many eager fans dressed like old rockers in keen anticipation for the band.
The show opened with a couple of so-so support bands that didn’t really seem to fit with Childhood’s new signature soulful sound. Nevertheless, the crowd were buzzing with anticipation as the lights drew down ahead of their entrance. Then, met with rapturous applause, Ben Romans-Hopcraft and his very well-dressed comrades filed onstage.
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Throwing the audience into things, the opening track from their most recent album, ‘A.M.D’, which set the tone of the evening. Ben’s caramel smooth vocals partnered perfectly with blaring saxophones and the groovy bass which really brought the track to life in a way that just trumps the recording. It was the same with, ‘Universal High’, ‘Melody Says’ and ‘Cameo’, the live version was better than the already-brilliant album tracks.
In a live setting, Ben’s vocal ability was right in the limelight, and he managed to jump with such ease to falsetto and back again, especially when it came to ‘Californian Light’. It was also evident that he really enjoyed doing it, playing around with his vocal range and improvising onstage. His charming yet silly persona really shone through too, holding his guitar in a power stance with his legs as far apart as possible, pulling faces as he sang and staring intently at audience members.
The band may have shed their indie-boyband image but they haven’t forgotten the past, playing a personal favourite from their old days, ‘Blue Velvet’ which may have thrown the audience out of the seventies groove temporarily, but it was not unwelcomed by their fan base who remembered their first album Lacuna.
They also used their platform to debut a new song, ‘Sugar Flight’, a track that would’ve probably fitted in seamlessly with Universal High. The track was undeniably groovy, and a great way to introduce the audience to a couple more of their old tracks.
When the time for an encore came around, Ben informed his audience that they wouldn’t do the whole go offstage and back on again thing because, ‘We don’t really like doing that’. Instead, they launched everyone straight back into the funky party atmosphere with a new favourite, ‘Nothing Ever Seems Right’ and then ending on the slightly more mellow, ‘Understanding’.
Overall, it was an absolute pleasure to see the band all together and really breathing more life into their second album, Universal High. The evening, was fun, funky and the band not only played fabulously, they had the look down too.