I walk into RedFaces’ set midway through their first song. Unfortunately, due to an awkward social situation, I had spent the first two minutes of their performance stuck in the basement of the Crofters Rights, but after excusing myself from the girl’s toilets I made my way towards the thumping, indie rock coming from the backroom.
But who are RedFaces? I’d talked to frontman Harry Lyon on the phone a couple of days before their Bristol gig. ‘We’re just four lads from Sheffield’ he informed me. When I asked him to describe their sound an unidentified band member shouted, ‘not very good’ in the background before Harry responded. ‘We’re a guitar band at our roots, indie rock ‘n roll but we try and vary it up a bit’.
Their strength, he tells me, is in their live performances. And I’ll give it to them, they’re a great live band. ‘Katie Come Home’ is a standout, Lyon’s voice rises powerfully above Isaac White’s tight bass playing. The pair are the band’s songwriters. ‘I might have a good melody or chords or something, and Isaac might have something he wants to write about’ I’m told, ‘then we just take it to the rest of the band and work it out. It’s easier when you’ve got two extra people to add their influence’.
Their first single Kerosene was released in December, Huw Stephens included it in his Best of BBC Introducing 2017 playlist and it’s been getting a lot of love. It’s a confident tune, with a heavy rhythm section all about ‘being sick of the way things are’. It’s got Stone Roses style backwards guitar and White delivers the best bass line I’ve heard in awhile. It’s the highlight of their set for me and Charlie Yapp’s excellent drumming gets me dancing before my girlfriend tells me to stop because I’m embarrassing her.
Are they going to release anymore singles this year? ‘Yeah, hopefully’ says Harry, ‘there’s no timescale yet’. ‘Our aim for 2017 is to stick our foot in the door, become a bit more well known’.
At the end of the short set I congratulate Harry on a great show and ask him if the band wants to come with me to Lakota. ‘That’d be great, but I haven’t got any i.d’. Under the influence of the Crofters Rights excellent, but very expensive craft beers, I had forgotten that the frontman is just 17. For such a young guy he has an incredibly mature singing voice and given that the rest of the band are all around the same age they’ve got great potential. I wouldn’t be surprised if next time these guys come to Bristol they’re playing the O2.
In the meantime, check out their music here: https://soundcloud.com/redfaces