Live Review: Larkins make a strong impression at Sneaky Pete’s

In the past year, Larkins seem to have propelled themselves on an upwards trajectory, going from playing various haunts in their locality of Manchester, to racking up 35 shows in their “Are We Having Any Fun Yet?” tour. Every success is justified; crammed onto the stage at Sneaky’s, it is clear that Larkins are a band who are made to occupy a much greater space.

Frontman Josh Noble beams from ear to ear throughout the set, and the band oozes a playfulness which is sometimes lost in the image of indie bands. Noble laughs with his crowd, speaking to us as though we’re old friends. He shouts out to one enthusiastic fan, “This one’s for you Cara!”, before launching into the swooning vocals of ‘Riverbed’, and it becomes evident how Larkins have nurtured a dedicated fan base, even two hundred odd miles away from their home town of Glossop. Their onstage dynamic is unique in itself, and as an audience member, you feel you could be watching these four friends playing music together in a much more casual setting. Within about ten minutes into the set, half of them have their shirts off, arguably due to Sneaky Pete’s being a well-established sweatbox, but also it seems to reinforce how comfortable they all are on stage.

Larkins expertly orchestrate a groove within the crowd, and songs such as ‘Pink and Blue’ are an illustration of how their glimmering take on the indie-pop genre traverses between lush vocals and entrancing refrains. ‘Hit and Run’, one of their most immediately recognisable tracks is met with remarkable gusto from such Sneakys’ condensed crowd. Larkins are met word for word by their audience, and there is an immense sense of community within the room as they’re met with a chant of “God knows I’m into you.

“This is my favourite song I’ve written” confesses Noble as the opening of ‘River Bed’ builds its momentum. This song ebbs away from the high-energy tracks preceding it, but it is a testament to what this band are capable of; the flickering melodies augmenting behind cries of “it hurts like hell” are revealing of an element of profundity to them. The tours eponymous song; ‘Are We Having Any Fun Yet?’ answers that question itself; the energy of the venue elevates as the song builds as the lyrics quickly catch on.

‘Not Enough Love’ is a standout track from the night, with a current of vivacity moving through the packed venue. An ode to their hometown, the song is carried with incredible gusto by the band’s frontman. As they come to the end of their set, Noble makes a plea to his audience; ‘We want this to be the loudest crowd that Sneaky Pete’s has ever seen” he grins. As they launch into newest single ‘TV Dream’, Larkins don’t fare too badly in achieving that. By far their most popular song yet, ‘TV Dream’ electrifies the venue with its sharp melody and undeniably catchy lyrics.

Larkins are undoubtedly a band who are destined for grander stages; they carry themselves effortlessly as though they would not be out of place on a string of arena shows. Their personality is a large part of this, but there is also vast amounts of talent behind these fellas, which cements them as one to keep an eye on.

Image: Ryan Jafarzadeh

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