It’s an easy question to ask when the world is in it’s current state, where does one find Happiness these days? Apparently, the answer (or at least a subtle misspelling of) lies in a quirky independent North London venue, where Happyness conquered the stage on a night of mixed genres and unique talents.
The band have been on a significant upward rise in the four short years since their inception, touring with artists such as The Dandy Warhols and Speedy Ortiz - this went to show at the The Dome in Tuffnell park, where their dedication and energy left no question as to what has been causing these ripples on the scene.
The night opened with Dama Scout [6/10], who played a bone-rattling psychedelic indie-rock set. The three piece performed a set that took pride in the juxtaposition of itself, at one moment revolving around a minimalistic airy guitar and a simplistic rhythm section; the next shaking the building with lengthy progressive climaxes. Dama Scout plays the lothario to genres, wooing and seducing them for a moment before moving onto their next conquest. It seemed an injustice that the venue didn’t begin to really fill out until the end of their set, the arrivals for the second support having missed out on something truly unique.
Dama Scout - Photo Credit: Unknown
Her’s , the second support of the night, arrived on stage looking unassuming (save for the fact that they looked as though they had arrived directly from the mid to late 1980s), their distinctive look one which was present in the crowd for the Dama Scout set just moments before. They were well matched with their distinctive “supersonic spectral wave” sound, the genre of which they are both the inventors and pioneers. Their self-described sound channels the energy of Adam Ant; the duo chemistry of Hall & Oates and the contagious joy which defined the 80s as a whole. None of this is to say that the band are exclusively recycling old tricks, however, as they have a self-awareness and new sensibility in their songwriting that brings their sound into the 21st century.
Her's - Photo Credit: Ryan Jafarzadeh
Once it was time for Happyness [8/10] to take the stage the venue was packed and buzzing, the band being met with thunderous applause as they arrived. Energy was in abundance as the group brought the crowd into a single jumping and singing mass with a sound which is noticeably fuller and heavier than on the album. Whilst their latest release, Write In, has noticeable influences of shoe-gazer indie and even traces of jazz, the live sound was significantly heavier and had a punk-esque purposeful loose feeling. This loose effect didn’t detract from the skill of the band though, who managed to perfectly strike their numerous harmonies and guitar solos throughout the set.
There is a noticeable period of time at the beginning of their set where the audience seem to have difficulty transitioning from the different atmospheres provided by Happyness and their second support Her’s. This quickly wears off though as the experienced indie-rock group coax the audience out of their shells.
Highlights of the night come in the form of tracks like ‘The C is A B A G’ - a harmony-rich number from their newest album which would take little to no imagination to see in an acapella form, swaying audience members visualising the entrancing effect of the song. Another is the surprisingly piano led ‘Through Windows’ that shows many of the songwriting chops of the group.
The live version of Happyness could easily be jarring to any fans seeing the band for the first time, many songs from both the old and new releases coming across in an entirely new and grittier light through the filter of the stage. This isn’t a negative point, however, as Happyness are able to keep the audience going harder and for longer with this altered edition of themselves. If a listener can open their mind to the differences between the live and studio experiences of the band then they are in for the treat of seeing a band who understand that a show is less about precisely recreating a recording piece for piece than it is about getting the audience involved and swept up in the moment - an objective that Happiness achieve without a doubt.