Eagulls play aggressive, vitriolic goth-punk. The kind of music that belongs in an North London basement venue, full to the brim of like-minded individuals. The band in their current form are not made to play Southampton Guildhall (to O2 Southampton Guildhall at that).
Not only are they playing a hugely un-intimate venue, but their audience is Franz Ferdinand fans. Franz, the art-pop groove-mongers… It’s all kind-of strange. With one album behind them, the set’s short and tight, packed with tunes from their impressive though slightly variety-lacking debut. Arranged like they’re at a school concert, the five of them stand stock-still in a line across the cavernous stage and there they stay for the duration- there’s a tension mirrored in the music, but while sonically it’s a claustrophobic powerful affair, this is just waiting for something to happen.
While musically there’s all the spite and euphoria that’s captured on record, visually the experience was an anti-climax. Being high up, an obnoxious barrier and photo pit away from the crowd, seems unsuitable. There’s everything there but crowd-interaction, and though not every band needs Blink-182 level banter it’s pleasant (let alone helpful for those unfamiliar with Eagulls) to at least know when one track ends and another begins. Though each track sounds great – particularly the biting ‘Amber Veins’ – every song bleeds into the next, an unyielding attack.
It’s not dark enough, it’s not sweaty enough, and it’s just not that exhilaratingly punk. There’s two sides to Eagulls- the bile-fuelled hardcore part, and the more heads-down, wall-of-noise angle. With the former completely lacking in such an alien environment, it feels they’re only half there.