It’s been a beat since Luna Bay stormed Kings Cross venue Lafayette back in March 2022, but the London-based quartet have been busy in the interim and come armed to tonight’s headline show at London Bridge venue Omeara with a growing arsenal of kick-ass tunes to flex those live muscles and give their burgeoning fanbase a long overdue dose of what they need more than anything else right now. And as I wait outside the venue for the doors to open in the light February rain, the look of surprise on fans faces as they arrive to see the length of the queue for this sold-out show that they must join the end of, along with a few disappointed faces of those who arrive without tickets and are turned away, I know it’s going to be a fun night.
Luna Bay @ Omeara
A neon-esque light fixture emblazoned with the band’s name flickers to life as the Luna Bay men take to the faux-run-down theatre stage (the venue only appearing under the railway arches in 2016), driving bass notes emanating from the PA encouraging the 320-strong crowd to erupt into cheers before the group kick off the music with bouncing 2023 tune You, frontman Connor O’Mara requesting the crowd sing along from the off.
A baseball cap is tossed from the crowd to the stage. “Who threw that?” the frontman asks. “Great, I’ll put that on in the next song” he promises, but instead proceeds to chuck it back to its owner later in the set. 2021’s Blue keeps the tempo up as O’Mara encourages the crowd directly in front of the stage to move, the crowd obliging as enthusiastically as guitar man Rye Milligan who clearly needs a larger stage to move about across, the Cardigan Bay man simply unable to stay put for more than a second.
“It’s so nice to be back London, to see all of your faces” O’Mara beams before kicking off another rousing singalong by way of All In, the infectious 2019 tune taking Omeara to a summertime Wales: “ Take me all the way, the Severn bridge, I’m far from home” he sings. 2020 tune Operator exudes powerhouse rock and is another example of why Luna Bay have scored support slots with the likes of The Academic, The Aces, Inhaler and Southend rock darlings Nothing But Thieves, Omeara bouncing steadily along.
Early song Colours is dedicated to memory of close friend of the band Will Acres who passed away a year before Luna Bay first headlined Omeara in 2019. “This song was always his favourite” O’Mara says before breaking into the tune, cries of “Loooo-nah” echoing around the venue at opportune breaks. “This next one is always so good playing when we play London” the London-born-and-raised frontman beams, signature guitars from Milligan underpinned by Ross’s steady beat kicking off Hometown, O’Mara handing vocal duties over to the crowd frequently.
Luna Bay @ Omeara
“Thank you so much for coming down, it means the world that you come to support us doing what we love” gushes guitarist Rye Milligan, Ross stomping out the driving beat that kicks off 2019’s upbeat You’ve Got It All. “I want you to jump, jump right in and get lost, lost with me” O’Mara sings, and the crowd are more than happy to oblige, smiles plastered across faces from the stage lip to the exit.
Boppy Misunderstood is introduced as the song chosen for tonight’s t-shirts (available at the merch stand after the show, of course!). Sammy Penniston’s lowest of low bass notes has the monitors kicking out noticeably cooler air in the sweaty venue, as the band get heavy for Trigger, the crowd bouncing in direct response to the elevated crunch. “We’re sweaty enough don’t you think, we need to rest it down a little bit” Milligan suggests, to awwws of disappointment from the crowd. “Alright, one slow song and then we’ll bring it back” he compromises to cheers as the band air strum-along Sleeping Alone.
Ross quickly removes the tambourine from his drum set as the band settle back into their heavier groove with latest tune Video Star, the group continuing to exhibit song-craft that deserves your attention, the crowd already seemingly more than familiar with the song as they sing loudly along. Walls pumps out another heavy riff-led banger, a bonafide rock anthem reverberating around the tiny Omeara has bones vibrating, the tune screaming out for a bigger space to fill as heads bang.
Luna Bay @ Omeara
A short stage departure and the boys are back to a chorus of “one more song”. But it’s two fan favourites that are aired. O’Mara requests a call-and-response from his audience as the band erupt into bouncy 2017 tune Little Amsterdam before the night is closed out with biggest tune Call The Night.
Each time I catch Luna Bay live, I’m left with a smile on my face from experiencing a night of uplifting, bounce-along songs put out by a quartet of genuinely lovely lads with ridiculous energy and the raw talent to put together a fantastic catalogue of tunes that I’m still surprised haven’t been snapped up by a label. Luna Bay deserved your attention before, your ears need their tunes in them now.
Live review & photography of Luna Bay at Omeara on 3rd February 2024 by Kalpesh Patel.