Last Friday saw me take a trip in to Manchester to finally see an Indoor Pets headline show. They’re a band that have been on my radar since an all dayer they played in Leeds back in 2016, and I’ve managed to catch them at a few festival slots since then, but a headline show has thus far eluded me, having unfortunately always been in the wrong place or at the wrong time when they’ve announced previous tours.
However, the four piece have recently released their debut album ‘Be Content’ and knowing that a tour to promote it was bound to follow suit I’d made a commitment to myself that I would get to one of the dates. The fact that the Manchester show fell on a Friday, was at one of my favourite gig destinations and was sold out all pointed towards a memorable night.
First up were Ormstons, a Leeds based indie rock outfit who did an admirable job of getting the crowd warmed up, even throwing in a brief cover of Abba’s ‘Mamma Mia’ amongst their own melodic tracks.
The surprise of the night for me though were Animal House. In the lead up to a gig, I’ll normally jump on Spotify to check out the support acts and if I like what I hear, I’ll make an effort to try and familiarise myself even more with the material before the show… I love having a dance and sing to the songs, so this is kind of my way to prepare. However, life sometimes gets in the way, and so I was coming into this performance with fresh ears. And it turns out Animal House are ace.
Based in Brighton (…yep, another awesome band that lives in Brighton. I REALLY need to go visit), the five piece are actually 3/5ths Australian and early on gave me vibes of the Strokes, except less serious (and consequently more fun). But as the set developed there definitely seemed to be a hill-billy twang that emerged that was reminiscent of Kings of Leon (and I’m talking about early KoL, you know, when they were still good).
Then they’d throw in a curve ball, such as one song (sorry I missed the name) which could have been Prince (their singer’s vocal range for this was particularly impressive), and also a song called ‘Tequila’ which kind of sounded like a cover of the classic song by The Champs, but at the same time didn’t. The absolute highlight for me was the mid set song (again, apologies I have no name for it) that saw lead singer Will pick up the guitar and perform a tender solo intro that eventually built to a finale where the rest of the band joined in.
Animal House definitely have a new fan. I’ve listened to all their available back catalogue since, and will look forward to them returning to Manchester to play at Jimmy’s in September.
And so to Indoor Pets. Straight out of the block, they win the award for best band intro of the year. If you don’t already follow them on social media, get on it ASAP. It’s wall to wall, 24/7 bants, with some fun little skits thrown in to the mix too.
The latest banter (and I’m not sure where it originated) is the on going observation that front man Jamie Glass has small hands. He vehemently denies this claim and in response the band have added a line of giant foam hands to their merch range, many of which were seen proudly sported at this gig by the die hard fans.
Before the band took to the stage, their intro music was a mash up of iconic, but bastardised songs referencing said hands including The Beatles’ ‘I Want To Hold Your hand’, The Pixies’ ‘Gigantic’ (Hands) and Sir Mix-A-lot’s ‘Baby Got Back’ but featuring the line “I like big hands and I cannot lie”…there were other songs featured too, but I was too busy laughing to remember them all.
By the time the epic intro medley did come to a close the band were greeted with huge cheers as they entered the room. It would be remiss of me at this point not to mention the crowd. For a relatively obscure band from Kent it was awesome to see such a busy room, but also to see how engaged everyone was. I did not anticipate just how rowdy the crowd was going to be. I love a good mosh, but kind of figured that an Indoor Pets crowd was going to be on the tamer end of the spectrum… but no. Consequently, specifics about the set are a bit hazy as I was whisked off in a giant ball of sweat and enthusiasm, the floors of the Deaf Institute’s upper floor gig venue literally bouncing.
The bits I do remember though; they played ‘Electrify’ which is from one of their early EPs and is an absolute banger. I was really glad to see it still making the live set. ‘All My Friends’ was another “old school” track that the long term fans seemed to really appreciate, but most of the set came from the aforementioned debut ‘Be Content’. And rightly so too. It really is a great album that I’d encourage anyone to go listen to. What you get are a collection of upbeat indie-pop-punk/grunge cross over type songs. The well written hooks certainly have a delightful accessibility about them, and I can see them having the right ingredients to appeal to a fairly mainstream audience, yet there’s still enough beefiness in the riffing to keep a grunge boy like me happy.
If you look a bit deeper, past the silliness on social media and the fun melodies, you also get dry witted and poignant lyrics that deal with subjects such as the struggles and pressures of modern life, dealing with alienation and also having a longing to be loved. Pay attention and you can pick up on some real vulnerability and tenderness, whilst the tracks still somehow manage to keep things relatively fun and light-hearted. The songs seem to really spill their guts, but also show that they’re made of the right stuff.
The messages in the songs also seemed to really resonate with the audience at Friday’s show, and it felt like there was a real connection not only with the band, but between the punters too as virtually the whole room bellowed out the words to every song. It felt like a really special show, and potentially one of those “I was there” moments, with Indoor Pets really start to come in to their own as both recording artists and live performers. I really did have an awesome night.
Congratulations to the guys from the band too as, the same day as the show, they were able to announce they will be supporting Weezer in London later this year. The social media bants have often featured the running joke that Indoor Pets are just a bunch of Weezer wannabes, but I know the guys genuinely look up to Weezer and the news for them is huge… Or is it just another step on their way to global domination? Watch this space…