There are celebrations aplenty on the bill at Shoreditch's Old Blue Last. Much-loved by north London's scenesters, it's 310 years since the fashionable little venue was first built and six years since the self-dubbed "den of nefarious activity" was taken over by Vice magazine. And the icing on this rather edgy birthday cake? The launch of promising young indie-folkers Flashguns' latest single, "Come and See the Lights".
This is a venue known for endorsing modish bands of tomorrow, so expectations were high for the London lads. Naturally, for a venue slap bang in the middle of the capital's district of cool, it's difficult to see the band over the crowd's elaborately backcombed hair. But once overcome, the view is one of gentle folk riffs and soaring vocals from frontman Samuel Felix Johnston, shored up with bluesy moral fibre. Their talent is unmistakable, and it's easy to see how, fresh out of school, this band supported White Lies on their 2008 UK tour.
It isn't long before the track the crowd are here to celebrate showcases a deft blend of delicate strings and meandering melodics. The effect is striking, especially when supported by old favourites such as "I Don't Not Love You" from the band's EP (which won an overwhelmingly positive response from critics at Leeds and Reading festivals two years ago). Their forthcoming debut album, Passions of a Different Kind (due in Spring 2011), is an exciting prospect.
Though the audience is an intimate rabble of fans, friends and family, the trio display a youthful lack of confidence (drummer Giles Robinson is excused as he reportedly drove 12 hours through the snow to be there). And, sadly, many of the haunting subtleties of the recorded material are lost to the venue's acoustics.
Although their performance may take a while to mature, the enchanting ender, "Racing Race", shows there's no question that the band's ability far outstrips its years. Expect big things from Flashguns next year.