Arriving towards the end of the support, The Kins, the venue is seemingly empty: a small crowd of appreciative audience members giving the band their undivided attention, while a few stragglers grab drinks before heading outside for a cigarette. As always seems to be the case at Electric Ballroom, the crowd seems to appear from nowhere, excitedly filling the venue with the most beards I’ve ever seen at a gig. Being under 25 and beardless, I feel incredibly out of place. For a band with such dedicated fans, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are surprisingly cavalier about the whole performing thing – setting up their own equipment, while the audience launch into a competition about who’s most excited and who’s waited the longest to see them – a strange thing to witness when the subject are just across the room, plugging in their own amps.
Considering the last time I was at Electric Ballroom was for Cage The Elephant, any other gig was bound to seem tame, yet I’m still shocked at just how civil the crowd for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is. For a band with such incredible stage presence and energy, it’s difficult to comprehend just how still the crowd is; sure enough, it doesn’t last. It doesn’t take long before the crowd perk up, transforming into a (still very civil) crowd of jumping suits and beards. The band play a very well received set of old, clear favourites as well as new songs such as ‘As Always’ and, proving very popular, the title track from their new album Only Run, and – despite the flawless stage presence – describe themselves as nervous. It’s interesting to see the response of a crowd to a band who have been around for 9 years, yet I’d only heard of earlier this year – people have waited years to see them, while others have seen them at every possible opportunity. While they may not be the most energetic crowd, they’re certainly enthusiastic, singing along to the likes of ‘Over and Over Again’ with clear admiration and anthemic determination.
While the band’s presence when performing is far from lacking, they’re disappointingly quiet – perhaps due to the aforementioned nerves. They approach the evening with a sort of ‘get on, play, get off’ attitude and, while it runs smoothly, some sort of crowd interaction would have been welcome.
It’s tricky to say much more about a gig that was over by 9.30pm. People arrived, excited to see the band, as the gig was ending. The bars were shut and we were hurriedly escorted out by frustrated security guards who, given the chance, would’ve finished everyone’s drinks for them if it hadmeant we left quicker. However, whilst the early, very sudden finish put a bit of a downer on the evening, it was – all in all – a surprisingly pleasant gig for something I had no expectations for.