After having listened to their new release In Search of Elusive Little Comets it would be fair to say that I was more than a bit excited to see Little Comets perform their 16th night of their latest UK tour at the Jericho Tavern. With an album rammed full of infinitely catchy songs it was no surprise that it reached no. 2 on the iTunes Alternative chart shortly after release. But alongside my excitement there was the inevitable question: would this record of engaging and, in parts, genius song-writing live up to its promise in live performance?
The Jericho’s eager crowd were treated to a great opener by Mustard & The Monocle, an Oxford/Wiltshire indie-folk foursome – feet were soon stamping and the crowd could tell from early on we were in for a good one. The main support, The Big Sleep, did everything to confirm this, delivering a deliciously cocksure set of dance-inducing tunes. Can of beer in hand, the lead vocalist was consistently captivating and the band commanded a stage presence that surely demands their own tour in the near future. Their short but punchy set with stand-out tracks of ‘Chocolate’ and the soaring group melody of ‘Ghosts’ was one of the most impressive I have seen in a long while and we await forthcoming releases with bated breath.
And with the crowd so fantastically warmed up, Little Comets did not disappoint. From the first track, the album’s opener ‘Adultery’, the band owned the stage. Robert Coles’ vocals controlled both the audience and the progression of each song leading to not only some particularly outrageous dancing on the part of the Jericho but also the impression that Little Comets are honed experts of stagecraft. Banter with the Banbury contingent and a suspended line of percussion instruments/kitchen utensils, the set was unfailingly energetic and note perfect with my particular favorites ‘Mathilda’ and ‘Joanna’ sending the Jericho into somewhat of ‘kitchen sink indie’ frenzy.
In Search of Elusive Little Comets is without doubt a brilliant debut album with numerous possibilities for strong singles and the band fully convert this on stage – the lyrical twists and turns striking just the right balance between witty, considered and often political moments but none of this deflecting away from the simple fact that Little Comets deliver massive tunes time after time. Ending their fantastic set with ‘One Night in October’ and ‘Dancing Song’ I struggle to remember the last time I was soaked in beer by a dancing stranger in the Tavern…but there were smiles all round as the infectious guitar riffs and wooohing refrain brought the set to an outrageously good finish. Coles told us midway through that Little Comets had always found Oxford crowds a little quiet and reserved but with shows as impressive as that they can be sure that they will be welcomed back with open arms.