Little Comets @ Oxford O2 Academy 14.04.13

Little Comets have a pots and pans approach to playing their music live. This isn’t to say that it’s a little clumsy and chaotic, as the saying would suggest. Rather, to make their lives easier, they have percussion instruments resembling saucepans dangling from a piece of string drawn across the middle of the stage for the three-piece from Sunderland to rattle and thump when necessary.

Apr 14th, 2013 at Oxford O2 Academy / By Dave Reynolds
Little Comets @ Oxford O2 Academy 14.04.13 A touring drummer follows the trio around, although the focus is very much so on the three with the pieces of string and wood hanging from their collective necks. On record, they weave tightly spun and complex indie rock, with astute and absorbing lyrics. The live show brings to life the hard working nature of the band and their music. A band that can pull off a song about a Chancellor of the Exchequer (‘Darling, Alastair’) surely deserve our adulation.

Lead singer and guitarist Robert Coles does more work as a front-man than you’d ever come to expect any lead vocalist to do. No, it’s not work in the sense of jumping around the stage and pulling faces, but with the nature of Little Comets’ riffs dancing around so fretfully he pulls it off so astutely while unloading his social observation filled lyrics on the audience.

And that’s not to say the rest of the band is not pulling their weight either, quite the opposite. Everything sounds so together and polished. Crowd favourites from their debut album, In Search of Elusive Little Comets (Dirty Hit) get a huge roar. ‘This One’s For Dancing’ has the desired effect, while ‘Isles’ lyrics still resonate sharply, four years on from its creation.

Tracks from their latest album, Life Is Elsewhere, get brought to life excellently too. ‘Violence Out Tonight’ keeps the click-clacking horseshoe beat from the studio as the track slowly gallops to life. The blood red lighting for that track is a nice touch too. ‘The Western Boy’ drops out to show Little Comets showing off their harmonising prowess, and why not.

While providing a stellar show, the most fun was had watching them wander off the beaten track a little. The final track of the evening was ‘In Blue Music We Trust’, the closer on Life Is Elsewhere. After an evening of watching them hit every note so perfectly, it was great to see them wade into a jammy breakdown that felt a little reminiscent of seeing M83 turn one track into a 15 minute adventure. It helps the show feel less like a play for play performance of the existing tracks, and more like a unique live experience.