It was billed as The Flies with Candy Darling in support. The reality that it was more of a co-headline tonight, and with at least six photographers elbowing each other (politely, this is Bristol after all) through the whole of Candy Darling’s set, it felt that the room was full just to see Emily play. That is not to detract from a slow burning, majestic set by the quietly magnificent The Flies. They have a breath of experience and musicality that was never going to be able to be overlooked. The set unfurled slowly, gaining momentum with delicious songs that were laced with an english-ness of arch-avante pop mined from The Kinks, early Floyd, then would unleash a cascading wall sound of barely controlled white noise, then in a heartbeat switch back to a loose, light playfulness. Introducing a song from the first album frontman Sean Cook quipped that it has sold around, ‘twenty two copies’, 5 mins later as it’s roar echoed away surely at least a few more dozen copies were now gone. The Flies succinct tightness is mirrored by their sartorial presence, they have an accessibility to them that could easily revival that of Elbow or Doves and as they bowed out on wave of beautiful sound, it was to well won applause. As with The Flies this was a ‘launch night’ for Candy Darling, of their debut single ‘Money’. In reality ‘Money’ blew our legs apart a couple of months back when it first dropped and tonight’s set was a stonking triumph (once a dodgy wire was duly dealt with). Live they are trio of dueling guitars and keyboards. There is no drummer, there clearly needs to be no drummer as the sound was nothing short of huge. Outside of the aforementioned ‘Money’ and it’s B-side ‘Temples’ no songs were introduced, but that is a moot point, Candy Darling launch themselves at us with a splendid rush of Velvets drenched fury wrapped in a statuesque, irresistible, stiletto sharp stomp. Like a Barbarella for digital age, you almost feel guilty at being unable to look away from singer and focal point Emily Breeze. The stage is clearly her natural playground, and she has us all in the palm of her hand. Born from the same dark pool as The Kills’ Alison Mosshart and Royal Trux/Black Bananas Jennifer Herrema, Emily unleashes a voice that seduces and maims in equal measure, while enticing with a move of a hip, flick of hair. But none of this would matter if the songs didn’t match. And oh boy, do they match up. After the splenetic ride of the opening clutch of songs. We are allowed a breather as a 21st century, slow burning almost gospel-tinged song takes us skyward, then it is followed by a beast propelled along on a motorik groove that mutates into stunning wall of noise. Candy Darling close out this stylish stunning set with ‘Money/Temples’. ‘Money’ an even more salacious thing live, while ‘Temples’ sees Emily stripped of her guitar and on her knees. Seemingly as captivated by it all as we are. Then it is done. Leaving us waiting till the next time. Two great bands for a fiver tonight. Both acts worth more, if you were there it was so good. If you weren’t, well you may end up telling folks you were. Just like that time you saw Nirvana… Miss out? Recap the show by viewing our photo set here.
Review by James Wilkinson. Photography by Mustafa Mirreh