I wandered into the Barfly for my first time ever at 8pm, expecting it to be rammed for Dylan LeBlanc’s set which was due to start in half an hour, with doors having been open for half an hour already. Instead I was greeted by about 10 people and an impending sense of dread about his set – I knew I was going to enjoy it but it kills me to see talented bands playing to an empty room. But it turns out my fears of another great artist playing to half a dozen people were unwarranted and hasty because as soon as it hit 20 past 8 the room absolutely flooded and instead I had the unfortunate experience of spending the first part of his set behind a particularly sweaty middle aged man.

Since I last saw Dylan he’s very noticeably cut his hair – his still got shoulder length bangs but before it was right the way down his back. He’s also padded out his sound, with 4 other members joining him to make the band something more than an acoustic guitar and a pedal steel, which is what he had before. Enough about aesthetics and first impressions though, on to the music.

Unlike his album, his sound here is quite full and unrelenting, and is something closer to Ryan Adams brand of ‘Gold’ era Americana. There’s still a country aura, but even on ballad-like, liquor mentioning and twangly ‘Tuesday Morning Rain’ he roared through, adding enough backing to make it sound something that more people can get involved with; my only criticism of his debut album being that it’s very difficult for complete outsiders to country and Americana to get into.

The only criticism of his time on stage I can muster is that he didn’t sound very clear, but that was down to the acoustics I think. His usually tender and strong voice sounded muffled and castrated of its power somewhat for his full band numbers (he went back to just the trio for a few well received songs) but it still carried well enough to be effective and the rest of the band really played their parts well.

After a brief interlude, Grouplove took the stage. Straight from the off their infectious energy struck a chord with the very mixed crowd and their dancing around the stage was beautiful. Highlights through the set included ‘Lovely Cup’, where their infectious energy reached one of its major climaxes and their 90’s pop guitar music styling was at its most prominent and well formed, as well as ‘Itchin’ On A Photograph’, where their usually quite plain lyrics reach a simple but lovely conclusion and profundity and their set raises to match it. And there’s no way to beat the simplistic but amazing happiness of ‘Naked Kids’, complete with an inflatable palm tree in the crowd.

With an amazing and energetic encore of ‘Colours’ , they’ve once again proved that they’re one of the happiest and most fun bands out that at the moment, and will an incredible live performance to boot.