Live Review: Muncie Girls, New Device, Vinyl Beats and The Green Collective – Pirate Studios, London – 21/09/2017 (‘Not OK’ Campaign’ Launch / BIMM’s “Secret (Ware)House-Party”)

Freshers week is usually a time of wanton partying and getting to know people you will be spending the next few years of your life with. In the midst of this, BIMM London marked the occasion by hosting a show to raise awareness for their ‘Not OK’ campaign, which aims to stand against harassment within BIMM, the wider music industry and everyday life. ‘Not OK’ partnered with two charities, Survivors UK and RASASC (Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre), to raise awareness and make clear that BIMM is a zero-tolerance institution.

Ahead of headliners, Muncie Girls, BIMM staff performed as members of the supporting acts. They put on an eclectic mix with super smooth neo-soul band, The Green Collective ft. Lisabel Biscaldi (4/5) opening the night. Every song was performed flawlessly. Musically they stood out with their mix of time signatures, key changes, beautiful jazz harmony and an intricate bass line that resonated throughout the room of music students.

Vinyl Beats (2.5/5) followed with an assortment of covers including ‘You Don’t Know Me’ (Jax Jones), ‘Zombie’ (The Cranberries) and The Darkness’ ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’. Instrumentally the band was great. Vocals were shared between two singers that alternated between lead and backing vocals. The switching felt clunky and the vocal performances were lacking. Neither were bad singers but they didn’t seem comfortable on stage.

Powerhouse rock band New Device (3.5/5) effortlessly hyped up the crowd. An array of powerful gang vocals, guitar solos and soaring lead vocal made for an energetic performance. This is especially impressive given that BIMM staff member Lizi Hughes, had to step in on bass only three days prior to the gig.

Interspersed between acts were a selection of enigmatic speakers from the two charities and Will Cooper, head of BIMM’s Student Support Service, talking about the great work they are doing to actively take a stand against harassment. This includes working with venues local to BIMM and giving specialized training to ensure safety within the community.

By the time Muncie Girls enter, it’s clear the crowd are ready to have a good time. The first half of their set felt like they were finding their feet as they worked out the vibe in the room. While excellently performed it felt fidgety and not completely grounded. By the second half, they had settled comfortably into their stride to give an energetic yet humble performance.

Frontwoman, Lande Hekt, seemed most at ease when acknowledging political issues raised in their lyrics, including conservative governments in ‘No Recording’ and feminism in ‘Committee’, as well as praising BIMM for the ‘Not OK’ campaign. You wouldn’t expect anything less from Muncie Girls, whose lyrics and views have always been wonderfully socially aware.

With such a strong repertoire under their belt, it is a shame there were only a few songs that really stood out. ‘Five Miles’ was especially powerful as it effortlessly pulled in the crowd with its story, ambient vibe and stunning delivery. ‘Respect’ ended the night on a high.

As the crowd depart singing the chorus refrain, it is clear Muncie Girls were the ideal band to launch the ‘Not OK’ campaign; tightly delivered, socially aware and catchy songs. (3.5/5)


To contact Survivors UK:
Shadwell, London, E1
020 3598 3898

To contact RASAC:
Helpline: 0808 802 9999
Outreach: 020 8683 3311

Words by Zoe Walton. Photo credit: Martyna Wisniewska


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