By Alyce Ruby
On the very rainy night of the 8th December, I ran (sort of) to the top of Bold Street and descended into the depths of the Jimmy’s basement for my last gig of the year, The Rills. Having caught them at our All-Dayer in September, I knew their first UK tour would be unmissable. Boy, was I right.
Supporting the trio was Tom A Smith - the young, Sunderland-based singer/songwriter played a captivatingly intimate set filled with emotion, passion and his uniquely raw vocals. Performing his debut single ‘Wolves’ alongside ‘Crucify Me’, ‘Me’ and ‘Dragonfly’ to name a few – as well as a Christmas tune to bring in the festive season: ‘This Xmas Time’.
He’s definitely honed in on his sound, and confidently interacted with the crowd – keeping everyone engaged throughout his set, despite the low-key energy. Tom A Smith is one to keep an eye on - he’s going places quickly, having already played alongside the likes of: Sam Fender, Catfish & The Bottlemen and The Lathums with support on his debut from BBC Radio 1, Radio X and BBC 6Music. If you can catch him live, you won’t be disappointed.
It was then time for The Rills to take to the stage, kicking off the set with fan favourite ‘Stardog’. Within seconds of those first bass chords, the room had swarmed the stage and everybody was singing along. The performance was just as impressive, if not better, than when I had seen them previously – in a much smaller venue. The post-punk trio put on a show no matter the size of the audience and you can count on them to live up to the quality of sound you hear on the record.
Despite their fast growing fan base, the band is still fairly new to the scene so we were played a couple of unreleased tracks from their upcoming EP, due to be released next year: ‘Do It Differently’ and my new favourite ‘World Leader’, because who doesn’t love a jab at politicians disguised as an indie tune?
The high energy of the night surprisingly, only increased towards the end of the set with their latest single ‘Skint Eastwood’ alongside crowd pleasers ‘Pyro’ and ‘The Angler’. During these last three tracks, the crowd was electric with two lads moshing in front of me and groups of all ages screaming every word. The band and the audience fed off each other's energy, creating the type of atmosphere I’ve oh so missed about live music.
The Rills are only going up from here: they know their sound, their look and their audience. The energy they radiate is infectious. It’s obvious they’ve been playing together for years - it shows through the confidence in their performances and ability to engage any crowd they come across. I’ll be patiently waiting on tour number two.