Snuggled in the backstreets of swanky Soho, The Borderline is one of London’s many hidden night-time treasures. If you were unaware of its exact location, you would walk straight past, the only tell-tale sign being the oversized vintage lamp with a massive, metallic ‘B’ welded to the front.
After doing a stint of shows across Europe and the UK with American ‘genre-neutral’ band, Paramore, it’s the turn of Nashville’s Zac Farro to take his place in the limelight with his dreamy indie-pop adventure, HalfNoise.
Inside, the intimate 300 capacity space is packed to the brim, every time I turn my head there’s an influx of people filling up the room. You can instantly tell who the die-hard Paramore fans are because the front of the stage is adorned with eyeliner and fringes, all waiting to see their favourite band’s drummer up close and personal.
Support comes from London based ‘80s shoegaze trio, Wyldest. Frontwoman Zoe Mead, takes the stage time in her stride and vocally reminds me a little of Kate Bush, which is refreshing to see. Fellow bandmate Mariin Kallikorm, shows off her talent for being a multi-instrumentalist, something that got me hooked straightaway.
There’s a certain energy in the room before HalfNoise even take to the stage, I start to get that tingly feeling that something special is about to take place. During the opening track ‘Sudden Feeling’, Farro gets so caught up in his performance that he manages to chip his tooth on the microphone. “Are you here to dance? Because we don’t have any slow songs!” Farro screams, directing the question to the audience before bursting into the next song, ‘In the Summer’. Halfway through, Farro takes a seat behind a drum kit, showing the crowd that he hasn’t lost his passion for percussion.
Embracing his inner Freddie Mercury, Farro thrusts the microphone stand around with great gusto, the crowd respond with screams of appreciation and awe. Songs such as ‘My Mind’ and ‘Know The Feeling’ show a softer side to Farro, a man who isn’t afraid to get in touch with his emotions. After announcing that there’s a new EP Flowers, the band play two brand new songs which are both hard hitting and bluesy, giving the impression that they were inspired by the sounds of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s fun to watch the band dance around the stage. You can see just how humble Farro is when he looks to the audience, who seem more than impressed with these never-before-played jams.
Returning to the stage for the encore, Farro gives a quick dedication to his “mom and women everywhere”, the room screaming in agreement with people not wanting the night to come to an end, myself included. He also confesses that their setlists are not usually very long as it creates more time to play songs again at the end and that’s exactly what happens. Somehow, even more energy was put into the second helpings of ‘Scooby’s in the Back’ and ‘French Class’, the audience lapping it up.
After a spontaneous rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ dedicated to the city of London, the band take a final bow before waving farewell to the audience. With band members coming together, from New York to Sweden, even to New Zealand, it’s evident that this band is fuelled by friendship. Farro continues to grow not just as a musician, but as an acclaimed artist, his vocals gaining strength with every performance. Go and see HalfNoise, especially if you’re looking for a night filled with cheeky, light-hearted fun. Coming from the man himself, “there ain’t no party like a HalfNoise party!”
Words by Chloe Gorman