Live Review: Spector // Oval Space 13.11.19

“When you’ve been a band for as long as we have, you get used to selling less and less tickets every time you come to London,” Spector frontman Fred Macpherson announces to the East London audience. ‘But I think we must have hit rock bottom and now we are coming back up’.

It’s hard to decipher whether this is an offering of gratitude to the fans who have turned out to the band’s tour finale, or a misplaced boast about holding on by their fingertips in a scene that has fallen on hard times in recent years. False modesty or not, the crowd seem happy enough with the statement.

This is Spector’s homecoming show, and the spirit in the room is jovial. The band walk on stage to the instrumental soundtrack to The Pink Panther and open with recent release ‘Half Life’, before early single ‘Celestine’.

The fan favourite invokes bedlam in the crowd, sweaty t-shirts are swung above heads as a shower of teenage sweat and overpriced lager consumes the space.

Spector are near faultless at what they do. It is just that what they do in itself is difficult to put under the microscope musically; with three-minute long indie bangers rolling off one after another.

Each component in Spector’s setlist are great songs in themselves – catchy choruses, neat, pokey riffs.. even a trusty middle 8 breakdown, before a double chorus payoff.

This arrangement is nothing if not a hell of a lot of fun, but there is little progression as such to be found in the evening – if the purpose of a setlist is to take the crowd on a journey, then we are still pulling doughnuts in the driveway.

Cynicism aside, Spector’s newer tracks, such as ‘Tenner’ and ‘Wild Guess’, offer a more sophisticated and haunting edge to proceedings. The accompanying bombardment of face-value indie stormers are hard to refuse and keep the audience more than engaged, so far be it from any chin-stroking music snob to deny the euphoria in the room.

As one surveys the assembly of fans losing their shit in the not-quite sold out venue (some of whom claim to have seen the band up to ten times), it feels – bizarrely – as if this ultra-accessible demographic has now become a subculture in itself.

Perhaps Spector are entitled to a little bit of arrogance after all. They have not merely held a UK tour together, but performed a UK tour that has truly engaged with people. This is a crowd who aren’t lurking at the back of the venue rustling their broadsheets, but losing their fucking heads at the front, and I know who I would rather perform to.

“I’d like to dedicate this last song to [management] Terry Edwards. When he said we’d be doing a 24 date tour, I said no one would come,” Macpherson discloses in the mic, ‘he said they would.. and he was half right.’

Spector may have to remain mindful of the title from their debut LP, Enjoy It While It Lasts, But whilst this venture does last, enjoyment is undoubtedly the overriding sensation of the night.

With a new album in the works, Spector’s fate is in their own hands. The London band are fortunate to harbour a bedrock of diehard fans, and if their music can progress without alienating them, then we should all get excited for their next 24-date tour.


Author avatar
Matt Ganfield

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