Slutface and Fufanu: A review of the London gig

by Hanne Nord

photograph by Hanne Nord

Photograph by Hanne Nord ©

 

Sebright Arms, a ragged pub hidden in a dark alley off Hackney Road, set the tone for the Slutface and Fufanu gig already from the start. The pub was packed with people speaking excitedly in all kinds of languages, enjoying the pub’s vast selection of beer. Soundchecks could be heard from the basement up until a few minutes before the doors opened, and the audience could trickle down the stairs, to a bunker-like room with a small stage.

Hayley Shea, Slutface’s vocalist, ran back and forth between the stage and the sound desk, while the audience almost awkwardly lined up along the walls rather than in front of the stage. Most of the people in the room seemed surprised that Slutface was there – none of the posters around the pub mentioned a second act for the night – but as soon as they got on stage, all attention was on the Norwegian four-piece pop-rock band. They opened with the song ‘Angst’, buzzing with energy, continued with ‘Get My Own’, and then the new song ‘Bright Lights’. Towards the end of the fun and playful gig, an unprepared audience attempted to take part in singing along to ‘Bad Party’ per the band’s instructions, which could perhaps have worked with a larger
audience, but resulted in little more than mumbling this time around. Slutface ended their act with their best-known song ‘Shave My Head’, a good live song that let them walk off stage on a high.

The excited energy left in the room by Slutface, was somewhat set back as Fufanu came on stage. The five Icelanders, dressed as if they belonged to completely different bands, genres and decades, in addition to their mismatched haircuts, wore gloomy expressions. The heavy, rock bass line they started off with was enticing, but the audience seemed to cling to the outer edges of the room, not daring to stand close to the stage in such an intimate venue. Slowly, urged by frontman Kaktus Einarsson, the audience came forward, and despite the bored expressions of the band members, the head bobbing of the audience grew into to jumping and head banging. The steadily building mood in the room took off during ‘Will We Last’, as Einarsson hit his head on a spotlight, but continued singing and dancing, unfazed, blood running down his face.

photograph by Hanne Nord

Photograph by Hanne Nord ©

Although looking no more enthusiastic upon coming back for their encore, cheered on by a buzzing audience, Fufanu had a solid ending to the gig with ‘Now’ and ‘Your Collection’, both songs built up by the scraping guitar riffs, droning bass and echoing vocal that marks Fufanu’s alternative, and quite unique, style.

It was all-in-all a good gig, which left the audience satisfied, although it could have been improved by better sound. However, the loud and fuzzy notes echoing through the basement of the pub may have been some of the charm in this instance. It will be interesting to see where both Slutface and Fufanu end up, and how they’ll tackle the bigger stages and audiences they’ll undoubtedly get a shot at entertaining in the not too distant future.