In the closing weeks of 2019, most people were looking back and reflecting on the year and the decade. Not Dirty Hit though. The label have helped shape the past six years of British music, and even though they’re already poised to have a bumper 2020 with releases from Wolf Alice, Pale Waves and The 1975, their second Dirty Hit Tour saw them close out proceedings by hitting the road with their next wave of superstars: Oscar Lang, No Rome and Beabadoobee.
Tonight at London’s Tufnell Park Dome, it’s the 20th and final date of the tour. Like every show from a Dirty Hit band, every fan is edging as close to the stage as possible. That’s just the sort of devotion they inspire. Oscar Lang (and his tinsel-covered Lang Gang) are loving it. His woozy-indie bangers are bristling with life and perfect for an end of year blowout. The dreamy ‘Snacks’, “a song about eating food and feeling shit about yourself” causes a riot down the front, there are screams for the summer daze of ‘Trash’ and even more for Lang’s one-man mosh pit dancing.
“If you’re worried about embarrassing yourself in front of your friends, you’ve got shit friends,” he grins, encouraging others to lose themselves as he is. The keys of ‘French Girl’ sound suspiciously like Paul McCartney’s ‘Wonderful Christmas Time’, but the room has to wait until the band break into their own festive anthem ‘Christmas Is Home’ for some Yuletide cheer – not that they can get any merrier.
No Rome causes less pints-in-the-air chaos, but the screams and sing-alongs are just as whole-hearted. From the percussive, hypnotic beats of ‘Do It Again’ through the emo rap inspired ‘Stoned In The Valley’ and the glitching confidence of ‘Cashmoney’, he’s a buoyant performer – hellbent on giving The Forum one to remember. ‘All Up In My Head’ takes the energy of The 1975’s ‘I Like America…’ and turns inwards with it, while his collaboration with the band ‘Narcissist’ lands like an old classic.
Beabadoobee might be one of Dirty Hit’s newer signings, but she’s already at the forefront of everyone’s hopes and expectations for 2020 . Her ‘Loveworm’ EP was released early in 2019 and saw her pushing her bedroom confessionals to darker and more intimate places, but it’s her recent ‘Space Cadet’ EP that really sees Bea come into her own. A gnashing, gnarled blitz of bubble-grunge and power, it lets Bea live out her rockstar dreams. Tonight she shreds, screams and rages like the best of them.
The opening one-two punch of ‘Are You Sure’ and ‘I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus’ are a noisy, joyous welcome to her world while the swaying ‘If You Want To’ shows a strength in depth. “I’m so ill,” she cries before coughing into the mic with a grin. She really is, but she won’t let that hold her back.
‘Space Cadet’ looks to the stars as she lets go of negativity and embraces the moment. “Let loose, we live only for a little while. In hindsight, we’ll die anyways,” she encourages. The closing celebration of ‘She Plays Bass’ sees the room turn into a churning mosh pit before The Dirty Hit family invade the stage. Your New Years resolution? Get to know the names No Rome, Oscar Lang and Beabadoobee. Forget last year. This is the sound of the future.