Having just released their debut self-titled album, Eagulls are touring the UK in support of Franz Ferdinand. At 8pm sharp, they take to the stage to a brief but respectful smattering of applause. The band take their positions and dive headfirst into proceedings with their furious lead single ‘Nerve Endings’. Dressed in a loosely tucked-in shirt, singer George Mitchell sways in a way reminiscent of Ian Curtis before wailing-cum-shouting his way through the verse-chorus combination of the song. Seemingly unaware of the audience, they make their way through their raucous set, following with an early EP track ‘Moulting’. Eagulls are musically flawless, albeit not spectacular showmen. They rock and sway to the pounding rhythms of the drums and bass, and on occasion guitarist Liam Matthews thrashes at his guitar, leaving his six-string companion Mark Goldsworthy the groovier side of things.
Only after three songs does Mitchell address the crowd, murmuring something that could’ve been “thank you” or “bonjour” before immediately resuming their set. Mitchell provides his own backing vocals when performing, so it’s no surprise that he doesn’t have much breath for banter with the audience. The crowd are polite, a few heads are nodding along but it’s evident that the vast majority are only here for tonight’s main attraction. It’s a slight shame because the band masterfully play their way through the brilliant cacophony that is ‘Tough Luck’, drummer Henry Ruddel beating his drums as if they were trying to escape.
Eagulls keep up the intensity into penultimate track ‘Hollow Visions’, the thudding rhythm section continuing to provide a resilient backbone for the thunderous guitar and Mitchell’s never-ceasing howls. The group are clearly giving it their all, demonstrated by Mitchell sitting down for a few seconds to recoup while having a drink of water. It’s the only real break to their set, and they quickly launch back to the high tempo with set closer ‘Possessed’. Reverb-drenched guitars do battle with Mitchell’s wails of “I’m posse-e-e-essed” as he leans on the mic stand to keep himself upright.
Eagulls’ set is a short but sweet one, at least in terms of their musical performance. Audience interaction was minimal, and Eagulls showed perhaps a few signs of being on a stage the size they aren’t used to. Maybe their shoegaze-tinged punk was a bit too heavy for the audience, or maybe the fans were just waiting patiently for the headliners. Either way, the band gave a good account of themselves to a crowd who unfortunately just weren’t that into it.