The last time Luna Bay headlined a London venue it was back in March, at Mumford & Sons’ keys man Ben Lovett’s Omeara venue. And speaking as one of the 300 or so in attendance, I can still remember the sweatbox the London Bridge venue became as the energetic crowd literally bounced off its walls.
So after selling out Omeara, it was no surprise the London-based quartet went on to sell out the 800+ standing spaces available at renowned Kings Cross venue Scala for their biggest show to date, as part of a headline tour which kicked off at Brighton’s Komedia and closed out at Supersonic … in Paris!
After brilliant crowd-warming by support act Wild Front, Connor O’Mara and his men – Rye Milligan on lead guitar, Alex Ross on drums and Sammy Penniston on bass – take to the stage shrouded in shadows to chants of “Luna Bay” from an excited audience, taking their time to burst to life with set opener Call The Night.
The London crowd are in a singing mood from the off, bouncing faster as the song progresses. “Sing it!” encourages O’Mara, but no encouragement is required.
Berlin is next up, the slower-drive tune and drum-filled choruses still keeping the crowd bouncing merrily along while Milligan takes every opportunity to contort his statuesque form while continuing to hit every note. “Make some noise for yourselves Scala this is crazy” the guitarist yells in response to the packed out and buzzing former Kings Cross Cinema venue.
This summer’s You’ve Got It All, keeps the bounce going, with the game-raised as audience members start taking to their friends’ shoulders, seeing how long they can last before security demand they dismount, the crowd itself is as diverse as you might find at a rock show at a much larger place.
“So London are you still with us?” asks Milligan before the quartet break into mainstay Colours, every word chanted back to them. O’Mara takes time out to request the crowd get low on the club floor before jumping up as the song soars, the loyal fan base happy to oblige and get involved in the experience.
“Do you mind if we play you a new one?” asks the 24-year-old frontman before diving into Misunderstood, the catchy up-tempo tune a sure-fire singalong at future shows. “If you know this one, sing along” encourages O’Mara before breaking into 2017 release Hometown. And they do, O’Mara handing over vocal duties to the crowd for significant portions of the fan favourite, grinning widely as his words are sung back to him.
Dedicating the next song to his sister and her new fiancé, the frontman welcomes special guest Clemence to the stage for latest single All In, the vocal duo demonstrating their harmony for a brief intro before the rest of band join them for the song proper. The London-based French singer’s dulcet tones compliment O’Mara’s own, the two enjoying sharing the stage for a true highlight of tonight’s set.
New song Sleeping Tonight is aired next, it’s downbeat intro transitioning into a bounce-along indie anthem has heads nodding even at the very back of the Kings Cross venue, those desperate to find a break in the set to head to the bar struggling to tear themselves away from tune after banging tune.
Storming and frenzied rock anthem Fire is up next, O’Mara encouraging the crowd to clap along with Ross’s heavy verse beats before they lose themselves in the chorus and subsequent instrumental crescendo.
2016 single Smoke And Mirrors closes out the main set in fine style, the crowd both raging at the front while singing along across the venue. And as the band depart the stage, we know it won’t be long before they return.
“London, this has been nice, this has been so amazing” O’Mara gushes, thanking the crowd while the band kick off night-closer – 2017s Little Amsterdam, even Milligan’s lead guitar intro eliciting crowd sing-along, let along once the frontman gets singing.
Confetti cannons ensure the venue earns its cleaning fee while feeding the senses of the bouncing crowd further. And as O’Mara, Milligan, Ross and Penniston down tools and leave the stage it’s hard not to notice the smiles plastered on the departing crowd.
My advice to anyone reading this: go check out Luna Bay at these intimate shows while you can. The group are more impressive with each outing, their live show super-tight and full of energy. And the songs leave no space for filler, sometimes leaving you wishing there was a duff tune in the set for the odd bog or beer break!
Live review & photography of Luna Bay at Scala on 21st November 2019 by Kalpesh Patel.