“I feel like it’s Christmas!” gushes The Big Moon frontwoman Juliette Jackson after the opening one-two of ‘Silent Movie Susie’ and ‘Nothing Without You’. It’s impossible not to get swept along by her and her bandmates’ boundless enthusiasm at any of their shows, but, tonight, at their biggest headline gig ever, their pull is even stronger.
In just over a year-and-a-half since revealing their existence and sharing their first track ‘Sucker’, the four-piece have earned their stripes in the dingy sweatboxes of the UK and graduated with honours to selling out the 1,145-capacity Scala. If you think they’re stopping there, though, you’ve clearly not been paying attention to their glorious rise.
The Big Moon are the kind of band that you want to be in, be best mates with and watch every single night of your life. They’ve always been a whole ton of fun, but tonight they’re on another level. Perhaps that’s because of the sense of occasion around the gig – it’s a serious coming-of-age moment – or their continuing improvement as a band with every gig. Throughout the set, they’re all smiles – ones that convey an uncontrollable sense of euphoria – and that atmosphere spreads to every corner of the venue.
‘Pull The Other One’, as-yet-unreleased but a staple of their live set for a while now, is driven by a staccato rhythm. On the verses, it’s subtle and delicate. On the chorus, it morphs into this gargantuan beast that makes you want to headbang so hard you’ll give yourself whiplash. Their now traditional cover of Madonna’s ‘Beautiful Stranger’ is an indie-pop triumph that ignites the room in a big singalong and ‘Bonfire’ (complete with stagedive by Jackson) shows off both the subtle wit in Jackson’s songwriting and the emphatic confidence of a band with buckets of imagination to go along with their sheer talent.
The night’s big moments lie mostly with familiar songs and one very dedicated fan. “Guys, there’s a man down here with a Big Moon tattoo,” exclaims Jackson, wide-eyed. “That’s commitment!” replies bassist Celia Archer as guitarist Soph Nathan and drummer Fern Ford’s grins grow even wider.
Singles ‘Cupid’ and ‘The Road’ have the crowd roaring along, but it’s ‘Formidable’, another song yet to be formally released but a fixture of the show for the last year, that is one of the gig’s sparkling highlights. It’s the best thing they’ve shared so far, a genuine anthem that does exactly what the greatest songs should do – be capable of completely altering your mood and make you feel like you can conquer the world.
The night ends as The Big Moon’s story began – with debut single ‘Sucker’. On record, it’s a glorious, lovelorn gem, but here it somehow becomes more than that. It’s furiously triumphant, belted out by the group with an immense sense of achievement and echoed back at them by the thronging crowd in front of them with glee. If you didn’t already believe in these four ladies as the next great British band, you’d have a hard time denying them now. The Big Moon are shining stronger and brighter than ever. Don’t expect their light to dim even the tiniest bit any time soon.