Photography by Sapphire Mason Brown

Hump Day was yesterday. But, on a balmy Thursday evening rammed into a soulless basement just off of Old Street you’d be forgiven to thinking that the mid-week slump had overstretched itself by 20 hours. Hipsters glare at their feet with expressions that to quote my dear mum: look like a slapped arse. We’re in EC2A and happiness and joy are punishable offences met only with a dead stare and XOYO tonight is the official HQ.

Although great as a club XOYO is just not right for bands; the stage is shoe-horned to the side rather than back wall of the venue so the audience is squashed uncomfortably into an awkward rectangular shape. The lights are distractingly bright and the PA struggles throughout the night to barely match the power of an iPod dock bought from Poundland. And worse still, the drafts off.

First victims to the crappy PA are Mazes who have to stop their set early on due to the screeching feedback. Unlike their show at Stag and Dagger earlier this year, when they bounded and beamed throughout their set, this evening singer Jack barely cracks a smile. Ending on ‘Wait Away’, the band look almost relieved to leave the stage.

Veronica Falls hurried Velvet rhythms and lyrics laced with suicide are more suited to the frosty surrounds. Bassist Marion chews gum nonchalantly throughout the set as Roxanne and James feverishly push out the rigorous riffs of ‘Steven’, ‘Beachy Head’ and ‘Found Love In A Graveyard’. Earlier today the band announced the release date of their album and tonight they slip in three new songs including the thunderous plea of, ‘Come On Over’, wetting the appetite for their long awaited debut.

Vivian Girls latest album is Share The Joy and by god tonight do we need it. Taking the stage dressed in matching floral dresses, Cassie drawls every word with disarming conviction whilst Kickball Katy has the serene grin of someone who, let’s be honest, is well baked. The set snugly fits in all three albums; the softer ambience of newer songs, ‘I Heard You Say’ and Can’t See The Light’, nestle comfortably with the curled lip snarls of ‘Tell The World’ and ‘No’.

Despite wrestling with further tech difficulties, howling feedback for ‘Wild Eyes’ and nearly loosing time on ‘Damage’ as well as only about 5% of the crowd dancing, the trio are surprisingly talkative. “This is for the girls” announces Cassie as she introduces the nauseatingly retro ‘Take It As It Comes’ and the outlaw swagger of ‘Sixteen Days’ is dedicated to former fellow tour buddies, Male Bonding, with bassist Kevin Hendrick present in the audience.

For ‘Before I Start To Cry’ Katy shushes the audience and armed with a tambourine, like a determined pre-school teacher, she gets the still-static audience to clap to the song’s sleepy beat before new drummer Fiona pounds the bass drum. The edgy fuzz of ‘Out For The Sun’ ends the set with Katy taking a plunge into the bemused crowd. Vivian Girls tonight were happy to share, XOYO wasn’t.