Well, I feel as though I’ve just been inducted into the extended Jordan Allen & Friends family after walking in on their very first headlining gig in Nottingham.
Standing on the outer edge of an eclectic and exuberant group of spectators – primarily friends and family who lit up the venue with their beautifully unpretentious joy and pride – I truly felt the combination of feelings one might feel when meeting a partner’s family for the first time: the awkward sense of not fitting into a group’s pre-existing dynamic as well as the pleasant warmth of being later welcomed into that very same group with open, sweaty arms.
Regardless of them playing to a half-full Chameleon Arts Café, Jordan Allen and his band sounded, looked and felt like a big act, one worthy of a big stage, audience and reputation. Without having done any research prior to the gig, their songs immediately struck me as being expertly put together from all sides – instrumentally, lyrically and in terms of their delivery – and they honestly wouldn’t sound out of place on the main stage of a sunny, family-friendly festival, nor at a larger venue à la Rescue Rooms, nor in the upper echelons of the indie charts.
From the guitarists liberally strolling into the crowd whilst holding their instrument at full-mast to them directing the microphone into the readily collaborative audience, from the casual banter between songs to the unashamedly topless drummer, it is evident that this lot have been around for a while, know their stuff and believe in their music. This northern four-piece channeled all of the confidence and flare that one might expect from a youthful band on the precipice of something big, having released several well-performing records, drawing increasingly large crowds and attention from up and down the country.
Having done some research, I now realise that the Chameleon gig might well have been the last chance to see them in an intimate UK venue, these chaps are certainly well-accustomed to big crowds and I would expect to see them on the bill of major festivals and venues, such as Tramlines in Sheffield (!) the Isle of Wight Festival this month (no comment..).
Humility and enthusiasm in the face of a smaller-than-usual crowd are always very much appreciated and a key to continued, guaranteed respect and success- which I certainly wish them.
Their recent single ‘R.O.S.I.E.’ stands out particularly well from the rest of the setlist as a potential sing-a-long indie anthem. That’s saying something because, almost without fail, every single song played sounded like a well-refined, finished product.
Best wishes to Jordan Allen and the band from the INFL gang.