In 2005, Hertfordshire garage rock outfit The Subways burst onto the scene with the proclamation that they would be Young for Eternity. Putting that theory to the test sixteen years later, the band played their aforementioned debut album in full at the O2 Kentish Town Forum.
Art Brut have long been one degree of separation from The Subways, arriving in the mid-00s to acclaim from the indie rock crowd. On Saturday night the band were suitably on fire, smashing through their signature spoken word meets art rock setlist. Frontman Eddie Argos updated many of the songs with new tongue in cheek political commentary in a way that displays that the band have perfectly aged into a new era.
Still sounding like Pulp and Axl Rose raised a child on the words of Manic Street Preachers and music of Morissey, the band swaggered through their set reminding the audience that they won’t be consigned to the past. A great opener for what was to come.
Album sets can be tricky business. Even the most legendary records have songs that aren’t built to be played live, a tracklisting that doesn’t suit the live format and the odd dudd that brings time for a drinks break. The Subways didn’t quite maneuver these issues but instead, they brought enough passion, warmth and electricity to Kentish Town that none of the above really mattered.
By the third song, The Subways had already smashed through two of their biggest hits in ‘I Want To Hear What You Have Got To Say’ and ‘Rock & Roll Queen’ and didn’t let up until the more acoustic led ending of the album. For the most part co-vocalist and guitarist Billy Lunn had little crowd amping to do as the audience clung on to every word of the much adorned tracks from Young For Eternity. The title track, ‘Oh Yeah’ and ‘With You’ went off like rockets while ‘Mary’ induced big singalongs.
Once the album ended the band performed a condensed set of their most popular songs, new additions and fan favourites – it was during this that co-vocalist and bassist Charlotte Cooper danced so hard that she split her guitar strap in half. There was a clear sense that the band were elated to be performing again and Cooper was a complete firecracker during the set, turning the whole evening into a momentous occasion for all involved.
If you have the opportunity to see The Subways on this album run, take it. These songs were written by young people who wanted to stay young forever, and this set proved that they’ve achieved that.