The latest artist to burst onto the lo-fi pop scene and grace the glittery stage at Hackney’s famous Moth Club is none other than Mild High Club; the solo project of the LA-based Alexander Brettin.
With a sold-out gig at one of East London’s most popular alternative venues, following the release of the critically and commercially successful album ‘Timeline’, Brettin isn’t just the guy who toured with Mac DeMarco that one time; he is the future of “slack funk psychedelia”.
The warm up act, Hollow Hand, perform to a half-empty room who are for the most part concentrating on buying drinks or discussing the headliner. The venue feels too big for their intricate harmonies, and for the most part they are, at best, ignored, and, at worst, tolerated.
At last, Mild High Club enter; Brettin accompanied by his four piece band, consisting of Mat (drums), Burt (acoustic), Max (bass) and Adam (keys). The crowd vibe easily and eagerly to ‘Club Intro’ so that the room is full of swaying hips and nodding heads. The band’s better known singles, such as ‘Windowpane’, ‘Homage’ and ‘Tesselation’, supply a sort of catchy psychedelic pop, a fair bit of synth and some tantalisingly abstract lyrics (“if you want a piece of my thoughts there’s a coin worth flipping; why don’t you toss?“) for bodies to dance dreamily along to.
As one would expect from the easy-going, laid-back, totally-chill music he writes and performs, Brettin is not an outgoing showman. He stands modestly but confidently on stage, before a sweaty crowd, donning a beanie, winter coat and guitar. He speaks to the audience but a handful of times throughout the set to thank or to inform, and sticks around for a bit of a chat after the gig. However, he hides behind his instrument for most of his performance, not that anyone seems to mind; when the music is that good, you don’t need to butter-up the crowd.
For the emponymous track from the second album, ‘Skiptracing’, Mild High Club welcomed guest female vocalist Amy to the stage, who provided some silky harmonies to compliment Brettin’s own Sergeant Pepper-esque voice. The guitar riff which features in ‘Kokopelli’ soared through the mellow atmosphere, elevating the rendition from good to one which deserves to be seen live. By ‘Rollercoaster Baby’ the crowd was whipped up into a hazy, groozy frenzy, demanding an encore, which Mild High Club promtly delivered, with their final song, ‘Note to Self’. Feeding off the tangible excitement, and in an unexpected display of playfulness, Brettin teased the audience with the intro to another song, and, like all great performers, left them wanting more.