Live at Beacons Festival 2015 on Thursday, 5th November 2015
Since reviewing Aquilo's tracks available on sound cloud last month, I was eager to see the band live at Beacons festival and witness how their somber sound would affect a crowd.
Set in the newly opened Headrow House, Aquilo were just as dark and dreamy in person as I had anticipated, kicking off the show with the softening introduction of their second EP 'Human'. With a strong little crowd brewing at the edges of the stage, the mood was intense, setting the scene perfectly for the rest of the evening's set.
The support bands, Malaika and Lewrey had done their job of readying the crowd, as clusters of people pushed forwards to be closer to the duo. For such sad, reflective music, friends Tom Higham and Ben Fletcher were smiley. ''People think we are really sad, we're not, we just like sad songs!'' laughed Ben as he adjusted the mic, before introducing the second song of the set, 'I Don't Want To See It'.
Lead singer Tom captivated the audience instantly with his soothing vocals. Looking around the room everyone seemed fixated on the pair, enjoying the ambient harmonies of the piano-led tracks.
Underneath the powerful lyrics and sad fašade, the lads seemed humble, talking with the audience in-between tracks about their experiences from their recent tour in America, ''We all made a bet and unfortunately he lost...we made him get a tattoo saying Aquilo''.
Although Aquilo retain similarities to better known bands, from London Grammar and The XX, they definitely hold their own, bringing a new, melancholic sound to the electro-pop world that we know.
Up next was a track that I spoke highly of the last time I reviewed Aquilo, the one I've had on repeat for the past month, the one I had been waiting for all night - 'I Gave It All'. This track just stands out for me. The lyrics are beautifully deep and emotive, yet simple. It just works.
To liven things up a bit, next Aquilo played their newest track, 'Never Seen You Get So Low'. With a catchy drumbeat throughout, this particular song ditched some of the sadness and focused on a more chilled out vibe, adding a welcomed breather from the more intense, drearier songs, before introducing the next track. ''This next one was the first song we ever wrote together, it's called 'Calling Me.'' added Tom. Listening to Aquilo's early material is rewarding, it's good to see where they have come from and compare it with what they are creating now. It's clear to see they have matured, and perfectly mastered their own sound.
''This next song may, or may not be, written about Tom's ex'' Ben says grinning at Tom, before the duo kick off the next track 'Better Off Without You'. Tom sings this particular track with passion, and considering the circumstances it's clear why. This is a break up song at its finest. It's all about sticking it to the man and moving on. It's definitely one of their more upbeat tunes.
Following up is 'Good Girl'. Higham's emotive vocals fill the room as people clap and bop along to the catchy chorus of ''I've been looking for a good girl/ yeah I'm looking for a good girl/ tell me if you think I've found it.''
Last but not least, Aquilo end the set with 'Losing You'. The mood is somber again, with the crowd swaying from side to side. I leave Headrow House impressed, and I don't think it will be long until Aquilo are back again, but this time, playing bigger stages.