Taffy LIVE @ The Black Heart, Camden

I was in an excited mood as I walked down the streets of Camden on my way to the Black Heart pub to see Japanese band ‘Taffy’ perform at the AC30 night. Tucked away off Camden High Street the big black heart sign hanging above the door way ushered me in auspiciously. The pub’s dark cavernous space and bohemian vibe made me feel like I had entered a vampire’s lair of hidden delights. Further inspection revealed black walls with posters depicting supernatural and spiritual themed iconography and quirky pictures.

I headed to the gig space upstairs; a big room with a bar at the back and a well lit stage at the opposite far end of the room. With the dark, scuffed wooden flooring and the pew like, cushioned seats lining the walls closest to the stage the room had a spirited, student union feel to it.

The crowd cheered as Taffy, made up of a male drummer, guitarist, bassist and female lead singer entered the stage. With their emblem of a pink, spotty dinosaur stuck on their keyboard and their art rocker/ student style Taffy have a fun and light hearted presence. The band opened with song ‘Theron’ a poppy tune with that 90s Britpop sound the band is becoming synonymous with. The audience began to clap appreciatively during the guitar solos. The next song ‘Sweet Violet’ had a ‘Mazzy Star’ sounding quality to it. Singing “One perfect day to see you around” and “One perfect day to bring you down” the singer brought a summer vibe into the room with her blue with white polka dot dress, white crochet knit cardigan and a powder blue bow and clip in her hair.

The highlight of the gig was Taffy’s cover of The Cure’s ‘Boys Don’t Cry’. Their performance had a bluesy feel shot through with electric guitar riffs and harmonising by the entire band on stage. At this point Taffy had the audience in the palm of their hand. Next the band served up ‘Indetermination’ a slower paced shoe gazing song perfect for listening to in your bedroom or in the park. The audience tapped their feet along to this and next song ‘Tune in a Jar’ before cheering the band’s guitar playing on closing song ‘Flower Chain’.

Although the vocals were a bit hard to make out during the gig (and I was standing right at the front) the instrumental sound was good and I got a feel for the band whetting my appetite.  All in all Taffy were a fun band to watch live with a set packed  with a mix of light pop and some introspective tracks which bring back the nostalgia of 90s Britpop.

Taffy hail from Tokyo, Japan and consist of Iris, lead singer, Ken, drummer, Koichin, bassist and Asano, guitar. The gig sees Taffy into the fourth day of their UK tour before heading to Bristol for their next gig. Speaking to Iris post gig I found out that listening to The Beatles growing up has partly inspired the band’s sound. According to Iris the comparison of the band’s sound to 90s Britpop is a compliment though they just do what they do and it isn’t intentional. Ken, the band’s drummer, who sported a beaming smile throughout the gig, commented that UK audiences are more emotional during gigs and you can feel that they are having fun more compared to the experience of playing gigs back in Japan.

Taffy released their second album ‘Lixiviate’ last month. Check them out at www.taffy8.com

Claire Grant