Life In Film - Cargo, London
Unless you’ve aspirations on becoming the most authentic Guns N’ Roses tribute act around, arriving on stage later than scheduled isn’t a particularly auspicious start, especially when the crowd are waiting around in possibly London’s sweatiest venue (poor air-con rather than the down-and-dirty good kind). Fortunately for Life In Film, the assured forty-minute set that follows proves to be worth the wait at least from a musical standpoint anyway; you know you’re onto a winner when even the security guards are nodding their heads.
With the band currently recording their debut album, you’d be more willing to forgive them for some rough edges; rough edges that, apart from a couple of ear-screeching dodgy feedback moments, don’t transpire with the likes of ‘Sorry’ and ‘Get Closer’ providing crisp blasts of atmospheric surf pop-rock. Think The Drums gone melancholic and you’re almost there. Where slight issues do arise though is in the performance rather than the execution. At times, you almost wish for a bit of pep to be introduced – we’re not talking Energizer bunny levels of energy, but just that added bit of zip. It’s particular prevalent in the opening half of the set, making the songs admirable but not exactly inspiring you to go ‘we need to see this band live’.
It’s an issue that's satisfyingly resolved for the latter half of the set with an extra gear found from the excellent current single ‘The Idiot’ onwards, the band noticeably becoming freer as the evening wears on. Without hearing the final versions, it’s hard to fully gauge what’s as is on record but there are definite moments when it feels like the band are letting loose and just rocking out. It’s an energy that the crowd feeds from and while we’re not talking mass moshing sessions here, there’s certainly more animation and it makes it feel like a live outing rather than what could have just been an album playback evening.
Still, gripes aside, the focus for many would be on the music itself and with various styles traversed, including such contrasts as balladry and surf-prog, the content is certainly exciting. With producer Stephen Street at the helm, their full-length debut has got bags of potential and, for many, the material’s the hardest step; master that and Life In Film should have plenty of time ahead to tweak everything else - even their punctuality.