Hailing from one of the most remote parts of the UK, Scottish six piece Neon Waltz were back in Dunfermline for another live show, raking up more miles on their old van.
Saying that I was looking forward to seeing them again is a major understatement, after watching their festival set at Electric Fields festival in Dumfries (which if you’ve never been, is a truly majestic and beautiful small festival) I was more than looking forward to catching their latest set.
Tonight, Neon Waltz were playing at PJ Molloys in Dunfermline, Fife, a venue that I hold close to my heart as I can still remember dancing in here to local indie bands when I was 15, sipping on cans of Red Stripe in the corner, trying not to get caught by the owner. So it’s nice to be back, and to see a good Thursday night crowd in attendance.
I managed to catch a few moments with the band after their set, they have been flying under the radar of late whilst pushing out various teasing posts via social media regarding their latest album whilst attending venues up and down the country. But for now, let’s talk about their gig.
The band emerged from the small green room door carrying bottles of lager with the dreamy ‘Bang Band (My Baby Shot Me Down)’ echoing out to the awaiting crowd.
Since I last saw them in the same venue last year, they have grown into a more aggressive and stage dominating band. This opinion was met with agreement by the keyboard player Liam Whittles who states the band want “to sound bigger, to sound more ballsy.” On tonight’s showing, this was definitely the case. With lead singer Jordan Shearer doing his best Tim Burgess impressions by sitting his chin on top of the microphone and staring into the crowd as the wall of noise continues behind him.
Even though the night started with a technical glitch, they were soon up and running with the band jumping into their set, which comprised of 11 tracks, including latest single, ‘Dreamers’. ‘Dreamers’ is an emphatic, mind-altering return from Neon Waltz and their influencers are clearer than ever based on their return. Following on from previous singles such as ‘Perfect Frame’ and the enigmatic flowing song that is ‘Bare wood Aisles’, it’s their first piece of new music in some time. ‘Dreamers’ is Neon Waltz’s biggest song to date, almost anthem like. It’s loud, with a ferocious quality, which will no doubt be screamed along to by fans in years to come.
“You should do what you love while you can,” sings frontman Jordan Shearer, who confidently echoes out the chorus, supported by bone-rattling guitars, all flowing in harmony with the bands exceptional sunny organ melodies.
Every song in the set encompasses the natural, yet overpowering feeling of the morning sun, bursting through mystical clouds. A beautiful, uncategorised sound flows throughout their songs added to by strong drum and bass-lines.
As I mentioned previously, I managed to grab lead singer Jordan and keyboard player Liam after the gig who were selling their latest single to fans. I asked when we are likely to hear the new album, Jordan replies “The album is done. You can expect to hear it next year, probably summer time. It took longer than expected but it sounds amazing and we are really pleased with it. We have a single to release in Feb 17, which is a bit slower than our previous releases so that will interesting.” Jordan continues “with regards to 2017, we will be on the road in spring 17 promoting singles which will be followed by a summer of festivals, although nothing confirmed yet.”
The question on everybody’s lips was the tour with The Coral. Jordan explains that “getting to tour with one of your favourite bands was great”. “It’s ace because you get to see them for free every night. Their visuals on stage were insane too, which gave us a boot up the arse to experiment with that too. We have tried projections as a backdrop but as this stage we just don’t have the budget to try something like theirs, hopefully soon though! Oh and plus, The Coral are such great guys!”
Having met Jordan before, I knew he studied film at university so I was keen to discuss the bands video for the single ‘Dreamers’. Jordan mentions that “in the past we had done everything ourselves, but opted to do a video with Dom Foster from Liverpool for Dreamers. We were really into the stuff he’d done before and wanted a change of scenery. We have produced the video for the new release that is coming out mid Feb, so look out for that.”
How has Caithness been guys? “It’s been great thanks, it’s such a lovely place to be” mentions Liam. Are you still working in the croft? “Yeh we are. Working in the croft is brilliant, it’s our home, but with no heating it’s been bloody cold recently. When it gets too cold we go to our drummer’s house, as he has a cool living room. We are in the croft Monday-Friday recording, writing, working, and recording. It’s full on but brilliant.”
Asking if they have any plans to move from up North, “right now this it is our home, and we see no reason to move. Someday though, possibly. Our van has taken a battering with all the travelling though!” Jordan describes. How many miles has the van done this year? “It’s hard to tell. The speedo counter stopped working at 200 thousand miles, 2 years ago.” Asking where the van was parked tonight, I was told it was hidden away underneath an invisibility blanket. I’ll try get a picture of it next time I promise!
It’s good to have you back in Dunfermline guys, do you like playing here? “We love it here. We have played at PJs so many times, it’s almost like second home, and Dunfermline is full of good cats so we are always happy to stop by” Jordan tells me. “Regarding the rest of the tour, we are really looking forward to playing King Tuts, it has such a great atmosphere in there” says Jordan. I enquire into the bands favourite Scottish venues, Liam mentions they played a gig at their old high school in Wick before it closed down in October to be moved to a new building being built next door. He mentions that “Wick high school is the coolest venue that isn’t actually a venue if you get me. It just looks really cool, big room, pillars and there is a real nostalgia in playing there. We actually smoked a cigarette in the staff room, although we left before we got caught by one of our old teachers.”
Lastly, I ask the guys about bands we should be looking out for in 2017. Jordan says “we are all really digging Lemon Twigs right now. We haven’t seen them yet but are planning to go watch their show in Glasgow on Sunday night, which should be brilliant. They are two Long Island brothers who are pretty remarkable. Their album Do Hollywood is the business.” Liam adds “closer to home, the Domiciles and Rituals are both brilliant, we expect them to do some cool stuff in 2017.” The Domiciles, a band from Fife actually played up near Caithness and Neon Waltz were in attendance, with Jordan mentioning “the gig sold out in 30 minutes or something, it was pretty mental.”
Not only are Neon Waltz definitely a band to look out for in the coming years, they are down to earth and genuine guys. It’s going to be thrilling to watch their progression which has been clear from their rapid growth thus far.
Photography by Robert Adam.
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