There’s something distinctly reminiscent of classic powerhouse female-led rock bands such as Blondie, Hole, and even Joan Jett as New York trio Sunflower Bean take to the stage of Concorde 2 on a unremarkably average Thursday night. Maybe it’s something to do with singer Julia Cumming’s crudely cut blonde hair; her slightly faded prom dress; her heavy black eye make-up; or maybe…maybe it’s something else.
Having opened for indie pals Wolf Alice at The Brighton Dome in November last year, and comfortably filling Concorde 2 to just short of it’s 600 capacity, it’s clear Sunflower Bean are anything but short of a dedicated fan base. Having recently released their second studio album, Twentytwo in Blue to critical acclaim, at the age of just twenty two themselves the band have very little left to prove; and after seeing them live you can’t help but ask, is there anything left to prove at all?
Stomping onto the stage complete with Bob Dylan-esque hairstyles and the presence of a ’70s moustache, the band exude confidence and style as they launch into ‘Burn It’, a track equally befitting their flamboyant and signature look. With bouncy guitar riffs, classic drum beats and subtle harmonies, the audience is transported to another era as Cummings sings defiantly “this town // burn it to the ground”. Older tracks such as ‘2013’ and ‘Come On’ are equally entrancing, with their delicate guitar and retro sounds.
But it’s the gentle rhythms of ‘Memoria’ and piercing vocals of ‘Twentytwo’ that are the most moving. As Cummings sings “the past is the past for a reason” the crowd falls silent and watches in awe. For all their feist and attitude, the group don’t do ballads by half, and one things for sure – Sunflower Bean may have the crowd moshing violently at the front one minute, but with two gentle plucks on a guitar string they are sure to have them spellbound.