Reflective? No chance. Fatherson bring 'big rock show' to Islington

Scottish rock band Fatherson perform at Islington Assembly Hall

Scottish rock band Fatherson perform at Islington Assembly Hall - Credit: Christopher Hogg

Fatherson promised a “big, fun rock show” on their tour promoting the album considered by the Scottish indie outfit as their most reflective and groove driven yet. 

Anyone still guessing which direction they would take may have been further confused when the Kilmarnock three-piece appeared wearing matching boiler suits - outfits suggestive of boy bands and dance routines. But from the moment they crashed into opener Dive it was obvious they only had one thing in mind.This was going to be a big, fun rock show and nothing else was on the menu.  

The energy was kept up with older songs Charm School and Lost Little Boys, only slightly relenting with the introduction of Normal People - which contains the allude to ‘Normal Fears’ - the name of their fourth LP which dropped in April. Front man Ross Leighton described lockdown, break-ups and daily frustrations as being the fuel for the album. But perhaps that theme was most noticeable in the 2018-track Reflection, an outlier in the set. It was otherwise big hooks, hard riffs and plenty of singalongs.

Ross appears a mellower character than his unapologetic long hair and a bushy beard would suggest and even a back and forth with a heckler during a stage anecdote about writing a song in a toilet is handled with gentle precision. The cleaner cut bass player Marc Strain and drummer Greg Walkinshaw did not share the vocal but make their presence felt through unbounding energy, the former regularly taking centre stage to encourage crowd singalongs. Between them they generate enough stage presence to bring to life their 16 or so tracks. The crowd - a knowledgeable near sell out - reached a frenzy for the older tracks. Finisher Making Waves is sung back to the band so furiously that Ross and Co are able to stand back from the microphones and bask in the mass adulation for the anecdotal lyrics.

Fatherson were far from blue, bringing their rock anthems to a knowledgeable crowd

Fatherson were far from blue, bringing their rock anthems to a knowledgeable crowd - Credit: Christopher Hogg

I’m making waves with the girl down the street
She tells me secrets I don’t think I can keep

In contrast to the introspection and pop of Normal Fears, the set is pure rock - hard enough even to be on a level with heavy hitters Black Foxxes, the opening act. Whether as a cure of their sadness or a celebration for being through it, Fatherson are firing on all cylinders.

Fatherson’s album Normal Fears is out now. For information and tour dates, visit: www.fathersonband.com/