By David Atkinson
August 13, 2012
It wasn’t quite the usual crowd of painfully hip locals at Dalston’s new favourite basement gig space Birthdays this Monday. Some of those jostling for a good view of the stage had obviously made the pilgrimage to see their new favourite band Theme Park play their sold out launch show for new single ‘Jamaica.’
Before the gig had begun, easily recognisable lead singer Miles Haughton and his twin brother Marcus drank at the bar and mixed with fans, friends and even proud parents, clearly not feeling any pressure—and rightly so, with places secured on the Reading and Leeds line-ups and the official support for Bloc Party’s comeback tour in the bag. With the rest of the summer and indeed the future looking bright for the young and rather cute five piece from North London, this gig felt like a victory lap.
The band ambled onto the tiny stage through the crowd and with no intro got straight into the dance-y indie which has become their trademark sound, and which finds them sitting very naturally on the Transgressive Records roster. The dangerously catchy tunes were performed with an ease and tightness that a lot of bands would be jealous of, the tropical synths and funky rhythm section perfectly balanced with frontman Miles’ smooth vocals. At times in danger of appearing a little too clean cut, Miles just adds the touch of charm and swagger required and on which to focus your attention. It was clear we had some serious fans in attendance, and from the first second the whole crowd was dancing energetically and smiling (it’s nearly impossible not to)—one dedicated fan had even brought along a giant Jamaican flag to wave in everyone’s face during the new single ‘Jamaica.’ In fact, he waved it to every song, much to the ‘delight’ of crowd members within a 6 foot radius of him. It seemed that crowd enjoyment had peaked early but earlier single ‘Milk’ and standout track ‘Wax’ whipped them even further into a well mannered frenzy (a side-note: it is possible Theme Park have the best behaved fans of all time. Even when Miles unveiled the new songs it didn’t slow down the crowd for a second, in fact they already knew all of the words).
The downside? A very short set of about half an hour proved a shame when everybody was having far more fun than should be allowed on a Monday, and when the DJ turned up the tunes signalling that there was going to be no encore, the hungry crowd were left wanting. They shouldn’t be disappointed though, if the rise and rise of Theme Park continues, this may have been the last chance to see them in a small intimate venue, and anyway, who could stay mad at these guys? They’re just so adorable.