Recently I was able to catch Eagulls’ show at the Crescent Ballroom which is rapidly becoming my all time favorite music venue. In the past year I have also seen Haim and The War on Drugs there and there is not a bad seat in the house.
It’s standing room only up front, but there are also bleachers in the back that are at most only 20 feet from the stage.
Eagulls self titled debut album has been critically applauded, but at this point in their career, they are a band that is best appreciated live. That is why it was disappointing to see barely over a hundred people at the gig because this is a band that deserves to be moshed to. However, the lackluster turn out was mostly due to it being a Tuesday night and a lack of promotion. I didn’t even hear about the gig until the last second.
The band opened with my favorite single off the album “Tough Luck” which was absolutely wailed away by lead singer George Mitchell. It has a great heavy guitar and solo riff somewhat reminiscent of the bass line in Killing Joke’s song “Eighties.” This is an oft cited comparison for the band as well as early Cure as they have covered Killing Joke’s “Requiem.” which is the B-side to the “Nerve Endings” single.
The rest of the set continued to be played with a Clash like intensity including the aforementioned “Nerve Endings,” which won best music video at the 2014 NME music awards and is also the lead track from the album.
My only criticism of the show is if you hadn’t already sat down with the album some of the tracks have a tendency to bleed into one another. People have also had the same criticism of The Ramones and AC/DC for over 30 years and those are two of the most important bands in the rock and roll pantheon.
As with most bands, as Eagulls’ songwriting style evolves, they most likely will mature and write more accessible songs for the general listening public, just as The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Social Distortion’s style did, two other bands bands that really liked to mostly shred early in their career.
That’s not to say the songs don’t have depth as many of the lyrics are quite introspective. “Hollow Visions,” which according to Mitchell is about “holding onto all my aspirations of ‘going somewhere in life’ only to find myself in a dead end job with nothing going for me.“
The futures died and lies around no clarity / These hollow visions, hollow visions, hollow visions are just the dark taunts / Shadows curing all that we can be
They finished the set with a great rendition of “Possessed,” another song, like “Tough Luck,” that demonstrates the band’s commercial viability for their next album if they choose to slow down some of the tracks a bit.
Save that one criticism, which really isn’t a criticism but a minor suggestion, if the band ever wants to achieve major commercial success, Eagulls’ debut album and their live performance sets the foundation for what could be a long and fruitful career.