WORDS BY EMILY MAXTED / IMAGES BY ALEX RATCLIFFE
“HERE WE, HERE WE, HERE WE F*CKING GO”
Chants from their 2020 single, ‘Red Smoke’ envelop me as we wait in much-anticipation for The Reytons. Already, I can tell that this is going to be a crowd completely in their element, and I am right there with them. Being only a recent addition to my Spotify playlist, I was not entirely sure what to expect from the South Yorkshire band, but my god, nothing, absolutely nothing, could have prepared me for the absolute majesty of seeing this band live.
I would also love to take this opportunity to give a shout out to whoever was left in charge of the music playing as we waited. You can just imagine the absolute scenes when Sweet Caroline came on. The atmosphere was NUTS. I loved every second. Having visited only once before (in 2014), it would be fair for me to say I was feeling a little nostalgic coming back to the O2 Academy Islington. Located in a shopping centre, a short walk from Angel station, the venue has such an intimate feel to it, yet can easily accommodate over 400 people. I’d nestled myself very nicely at the side of the barrier whilst we waited…
And before long, it was time.
The band – Jonny Yerrell (vocals); Joe O’Brien (lead guitar); Lee Holland (bassist) and Sean O’Connor (drummer) – emerge to an uproar as they decide to kick off the night with their 2021 release ‘Mind the Gap’. As one of the songs that I had listened to before the gig, I was intrigued to see if they could match that energy on-stage. My verdict? The Reytons are one of those bands whose recorded material does not give their talent true credibility. Part of their art is the 110% that they give into every song they play live. The crowd was absolutely feeding off of it in a way that I don’t see very often, and that is precisely why this was a night that I will reserve in my mind for a very long time to come. Actually, scratch that, I have never seen a crowd mosh like a Reytons crowd. It was absolutely incredible to watch. It has to be said though, ‘Expectations of a Fool’ is the one that remains my ABSOLUTE favourite. It’s just one of those songs that make you want to throw whatever it is you’re holding and run to pick up a guitar. This is one that will be on repeat for the foreseeable.
My personal highlight of the night was during ‘Kids of the Estate’. The band brought two young fans up on the stage to join them and I genuinely can’t think of a better way for them to have rounded off the night. One thing that was an absolute delight about this gig is the varying age-range of the crowd. This was a perfect representation of that. The Reytons are a band for everyone, and I strongly encourage anyone who has the opportunity to see them live to go ahead and do it. You will absolutely not be disappointed.
If there is anything that I could possibly criticise about this night, it’s my own self for not having properly appreciated this band sooner.
This was a night of music not merely about what you were seeing or hearing, but what you were feeling. An experience that I would do anything to have again.
1/ MIND THE GAP
2/ RED SMOKE
3/ HARRISON LESSER
4/ EXPECTATIONS OF A FOOL
5/ SALES PITCH FOR THE BUS FARE HOME
8/ CAR CRASH
10/ TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS
11/ ON THE BACKBURNER
12/ SLICE OF LIME
13/ LOW LIFE
14/ KIDS OFF THE ESTATE
15/ BROKE BOYS CARTEL
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