Noisy were on our shortlist of must-sees for the 2020 Great Escape. We’d learned they’d been signed to Island; we’d been struck by the swagger and bounce of their first single, ‘So What?’; we’d loved the follow-up, “Do It Like That”, with its infectious “bring it back down” hook that suggested there was a whole lot more to come. But then, covid struck. As the newspaper headlines put it: “Life Put On Hold” as “Britain Shuts Up Shop”. Two years later, and after a couple more delays, Noisy are finally on tour again, and we get to see them at last at Patterns. And we’re pleased to report, it’s been well worth the wait!
First up, though, is Barny Fletcher, who’s supporting the band throughout their 17-city UK tour. At 22, the Somerset-born, London-based rapper has been signed up by TAP records. ‘Christ Flow’, an early track, encapsulates his rapping style, with its machine-gun delivery and surreal, stream-of-consciousness lyrical content: “Man, sometimes I feel like/ I’m the Iron Giant flying/ Into nuclear warheads/ My jaw clenched/ Alyx my belt, Orion/ Gravity defying/ Monty Python Life of Brian…”
But Barny Fletcher isn’t only a rapper. He sings really well, at times recalling The Weeknd or Drake, and suggesting a possible future in soul and r’n’b should he so choose. He’s also a superb crowd manager. At one point, having announced what will be his latest single, he calls on anyone with a camera to record the performance and send it to him, so that it might become the accompanying video, “with a director’s name check and all”. Later on, he tells us he’s travelling around in a white Merc, procured for the tour, and encourages us all to head out and sign the bodywork after the gig is over.
With his enthusiasm, wit, fluid dance moves and top-notch songs, Barny Fletcher is the perfect act to get the crowd into the mood for the headline act. And, after a final “Yo Brighton, and thanks for the energy,” it’s time for Noisy to take to the stage.
The band has been playing together for years. Old friends, they were originally in an indie four-piece called High Tyde (reviewed by SOURCE a couple of times back in 2015). This incarnation broke up in 2018, and reformed in its current format – Cody Matthews (vocals), Connor Cheetham (guitar) and Spencer Tobias-Williams (guitar/producer) – some while after, their musical direction having mutated into an intoxicating mash-up of dance, rap, jungle, drum’n’bass… rock and rave!
On stage, there’s also drummer to beef up the live sound as they launch into ‘I Wish I Was A…’, with its clever lyric that taps into the hopes and dreams of the FOMO generation. “I wish I was a popstar/ Wish I could see the future/ I wish I had brown hair sometimes…” but coupled with sage advice to himself: “Stop wishing your life away.” It’s a great start to their set, getting the punters bouncing, their hands aloft.
“Feeling your energy, Brighton!” Cody confirms. Next up is ‘Bring The Drums Back’ off their 2020 ‘Press Space To Play’ EP, with its now familiar Janus-style emojis sprayed over the title. And then, before we can catch our breath, it’s on into their first released single, ‘So What?’, the song that kicked off the whole ‘Noisy’ vibe. The lyrics encapsulate the nihilism of youth. “So what, I like Justin/ So what, I get drunk quick?/ So what I get anxious when a girl talks and she buzzing?… So what, I’m in Brighton and I’m fucked up and it’s Tuesday?”. Half the crowd are singing along by this stage, and yet as the gig continues it becomes clear just how far the band have come since the release of this early offering.
During lockdown, the three friends took to songwriting in Spencer’s makeshift home studio. They experimented with random samples, hypnotic beats, lyrics that mirrored their day-to-day experiences coupled with sweet, sweet melodies – the one proviso being that, when they finally returned to the sweaty dazzle of nightclubs, those people who came to check them out would be rewarded with feelings of euphoria. And it has worked. There’s the bounce of ‘Rude Boy’ and ‘Alligator’ and ‘24/7’, as well as the wonderful melody of new song, ‘Desire’. By the time the wail of sirens announces the arrival of ‘Young, Dumb’, the moshpit is in top gear – retreating out to a waiting ring, then rushing back into the space in the middle as the crashing beat intensifies. “I’m young, I’m dumb, I’m full of it/ I’m free, I’ll run, I’m living it…”
We’ve all been living it. Buoyed up by a band that is as infectiously upbeat as the Happy Mondays, listening to guitars as driving as Rage Against The Machine, with poignant lyrics delivered with so much dexterity and passion, we’ve reached the euphoric state they’ve been aiming to instil in us all along. “Tuesday is the new Friday!” we’re told, and we whoop our approval. And as their last number crashes to an end, even the lack of an encore cannot diminish the group high that the band has brought us to.
“We’ve been Noisy!” Cody announces, reinforcing the cleverness of their name. But they’ve also been joyful, energetic, exciting and fun fun fun. Quite simply, Noisy are one of the best young bands around at the moment and we can’t wait for their return. Given that “Brighton is my favourite city in the UK!” as we’ve been assured, we’re hoping it won’t be too long till the next time.
Patterns, Tuesday 24th May 2022