Though from the outside, Queens Social Club looks – well, like a normal social club – on the inside it’s a different story. Though the age of members of the crowd seems varied to say the least, they’ve all got something in common: a can of Red Stripe in one hand. It’s an interesting venue of choice considering that this marks the return of Brooklyn’s finest indie rockers, with their third album Hysterical out this month.
Local band Hey Sholay kick-start the proceedings with their excellent brand of psychedelic pop, proving that they were more than worthy to be picked to play Exit Festival earlier this year. They’re also a very charismatic band, especially with the somewhat strange inclusion of Mr. Baritone Bunny, a stuffed rabbit who hopefully is their newest full-time member.
By the time they finish Queens Social Club is very clearly rammed, but fortunately there isn’t a large wait before the main spectacle of the night begins. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah come on with little fanfare – except for the hoards of fans roaring at them. They quickly slip into classic songs like ‘Over and Over Again (Lost and Found)’, but balance out the setlist with a pleasant amount of new tunes throughout the night. Though there’s a brief moment of sound problems with the vocals being a bit quiet, the band are clearly on top form tonight, and definitely enjoying themselves. They jovially joke about their surroundings, particularly the sparkly pink wall behind them, and are happy to reply to shoutouts from the enthusiastic audience.
Particularly stunning new songs include the brilliant title-track of the new album, as well as the fast-paced ‘Ketamine and Ecstasy’. But the crowd really get going with an almost hypnotic obedience during ‘Satan Said Dance’. Around this time the band are also more relaxed, with frontman Alec Ounsworth dropping his slightly shy persona and getting his groove on to the delight of the audience.
His vocals are proven to be as good as ever with his rendition of ‘Is This Love?’, singing out the chorus of with real emotional range. The clutch of hardcore fans who had been dancing with manic exuberance throughout the night were clearly in heaven when the main set ended with brilliant songs ‘The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth’ and ‘Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood’. They clambered to the front of the stage (and where rewarded at the end of the gig with handshakes from various band members) and used their vantage point to sprea their energy like a frenetic disease.