Xtra Mile’s Summer in The City
July 8, 2015
It’s not clear if The RPMs are old enough to buy drinks at The Monarch but they performed with an easy confidence that made it seem like they’ve been playing for years. Blending rock’n’roll with a little pop, don’t be surprised if you see more of them very soon.
PJ Bond powered through an assured set with a quiet presence and storytelling style, like a folk-rock Jason Isbell. Extra richness was added when The Lion and The Wolf, another performer with an easy charm, joined him on stage.
When night fell, energy levels rose and the crowd erupted for Will Varley, singing along to songs old, new and unreleased. Varley entertained throughout, interrupting himself to acknowledge when references (Tony Blair, Leona Lewis) were outdated. Varley’s earnest politics cut with self-effacing humour and pop-culture references were served with a smile and would suit fans of Chris-TT and Cory Branan.
As the stage filled, the crowd closed in ready for the frenetic onslaught to come. As ever, Skinny Lister exploded into life with earnest folk-rock and sea shanties, plus a welcome turn from Party George (the all-singing, all-dancing dad of two of the band members). Packed to the rafters with an atmosphere somewhere between a house party and a lock-in, The Monarch wasn’t big enough for everyone who wanted in – so Lorna took a break from crowdsurfing to dance with the gathering crowd outside. What it looked like from outside as a crowdsurfing double bass(ist) and a flagon were passed round is anyone’s guess.
All-in-all, a heady night of laughing, singing and dancing with strangers, and a haul of bruises and lost voices to rival any Less Than Jake show. Well played, Xtra Mile, well played! Same again next year?
Check Flickr for more of my photos of the show.