Bands change their names for all sorts of reasons: different lineup, new sound, copyright infringement lawsuits, or somebody else has already nabbed it.
For Indoor Pets it was none of the above. Known as Get Inuit until late last year, the quartet made the change after their pun-based name (a play on “get into it”) sparked some unhappiness within the Inuit community.
“See, we didn’t put much thought into the name when we chose it,” they admit in an FAQ on their website, “and it turns out, it wasn’t the smartest move we’ve ever made.”
Signed contracts for tours, including a month-long trek with The Big Moon, meant they were stuck with Get Inuit until November. Since then they haven’t wasted time getting the word out. There’s a new single, the snappy So Soon, and its inventive DIY video. They’ve just wrapped their first UK headlining run in three years. And summer festival appearances (including Sound City and Handmade) have already been lined up.
But there’s always the risk of people missing the memo and being left behind, wondering what the hell ever happened to those Get Inuit guys.
Indoor Pets needn’t worry. On the basis of their tour-ending Borderline show, the quartet have lost none of the momentum (or fan base) they’ve amassed over the past four years. The basement London venue is rammed with what seems like all the 198 000 Spotify listeners who streamed 33 000 hours of the group’s music last year. And they’re gagging for more. As the four men on stage blast out one power-pop anthem after another, the audience becomes a heaving mass, sometimes piled on top of each other, their arms aloft, singing/chanting/shouting as one.
It doesn’t take long (about a minute into punky set opener Mean Heart) for a mosh pit to break open. The joyous crowd surfing takes hold soon after, with one punter after another washing up on the stage, only to dive straight back into the raging sea of bodies.
And they’re just as vocal as they’re physical. Bass player Ollie Nunn is treated to calls of “Ollie, Ollie, Ollie, oi, oi, oi” between almost every song. During the quiet bits of I Am The Hot Air and confetti-cannon-complemented Barbiturates their gang vocals actually drown out the musicians. After frontman Jamie Glass has ended the show by jumping into the crowd, a sole punter steps onto the empty stage to belt Wonderwall into the still-on microphone. And even the so-new-nobody’s-heard-it-yet Tread The Water incites a roar so loud you’d think it was, well, an Oasis hit.
The Sittingbourne squad, rounded out by the brothers Rob Simpson on drums and James Simpson on guitar, are clearly having an equally good time. “Hi, we’re a brand new band,” Glass announces two songs in. And, although he’s obviously joking, the quartet are brimming with all the unhinged enthusiasm of a brand new band.
Whether he’s sticking out his tongue, raising his right hand to build tension before the rest of the band come crashing in, leaning into a punky riff, or crashing the Beach Boys’ pop sensibilities into Nirvana’s loud-quiet dynamics, the singer/guitarist/songwriter could take on the audience alone. Now multiply that by four, and you’ve got an idea of the energy radiating off Indoor Pets.
On and On rocks out like Weezer circa 1994. Pro Procrastinator is a pure adrenaline rush. Even their unlikely cover of Aretha Franklin’s I Say A Little Prayer crackles with all the electricity of a lightning storm. So when Glass reveals that the band have been working on plenty of new stuff to “slap you in the face with”, a real sense of expectation rushes through the room.
Forget about the name change. Indoor Pets are clearly here to stay.
Words by Nils van der Linden & Photography by Lauren McDermott of Indoor Pets at Borderline on 22nd February 2018.