It’s seven o’clock in the evening and the doors to the Brixton Academy have just opened and the queues are longer than a snake on the Nokia 3310 game that’s about to meet its maker. Upon the doors opening fans rush in to take their seats or get a prominent standing spot. This early bird enthusiasm for live music is so seldom seen for newer acts these days.
Could The Snuts be the band who break the growing trend of indifference of people hanging out in restaurants and pubs right up until the last minute before the main act is due to appear? Judging by the immediate added buzz and liveliness this crowd brought; let’s hope so. It certainly aided the first support act, "slacker pop" solo artist Lauran Hibberd, who has been rising through the ranks since playing the BBC Introducing Stage at the Glastonbury Music Festival in 2019. The Snuts were also blessed with their main support: English folk singer Jamie Webster (with a full band) who has had two top-ten albums to date and was the inaugural number-one artist in the newly formed UK Official Folk Album Charts in 2020.
When The Snuts did address the stage the elation and excitement was that of an established elder statesman. Few new acts in this day and age who only released their debut LP the previous year have been able to command this accolade. With frontman Jack Cochrane dressed in black with shades and curls; Cochrane resembled Bob Dylan during his Blonde on Blonde era. With subtle accompanying video visuals, The Snuts opened with “Burn the Empire” which samples Tony Benn in the introduction. Fans were more than happy with the new politically charged direction this West Lothian band was now taking. The follow-up, “All Your Friends” whilst bearing no resemblance to “Seven Nation Army” got Brixton Academy to engage with this song with the same hypnotic passion with involuntary “do, do, do, do’s”.
After the opening hypnotic anthems also came a reworking of classic songs such as the funk leaning/infused “Elephants” which featured a contribution from Scottish based rapper Bemz which confirmed that The Snuts could not be, and neither would they allow their fans to be confined to a niche. Furthermore, The Snuts showed they could also get fans to engage with slower songs, igniting traditional hand waving with accompanied mobile phone torches shining across several songs including new song “End of the Road” which saw Rachel Chinouriri join the West Lothian quartet.
Whether it was singing about Spanish bullfighter Juan Belmonte or expanding upon their new politically charged material including their latest track “Zuckerpunch” focusing upon privacy and social media, it was all about how they did it, not what they did. Whilst the formula is difficult to ascertain, The Snuts has avoided becoming a middle of the road background noise or sounding too similar to acts like the Artic Monkey and The Kooks (Jack’s hairstyle was similar to frontman Luke Pritchard’s). There were no songs where enthusiasm and momentum waned. Momentum increased throughout from a few small sporadic Scottish flags to several large full mast size flags being waved. The Snuts’ choice to playout with “Glasgow” provided the outdoor summer festival jubilation to the legendary Brixton indoor venue.
With a little help from Jamie Webster beforehand, fans were left positive and politically motivated, chanting “Fuck the Tories do, do, do, do” after the show. With local council elections just around the corner; The Snuts could potentially demonstrate that their influence goes beyond making number one albums, unforgettable live shows, and being the masters of getting fans to chant “do, do, do, do” throughout even though none are included in their lyrics.