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  • Adam Reynolds

Spanish Love Songs - O2 Institute - 26/01/24

On a night that sees the final of the second series of The Traitors on the beeb, you find us in Birmingham’s O2 Institute 2 to see Spanish Love Songs.

We get to the show a little after doors open and catch the end of the first set of the night from SUDS, who come to us from Norwich. The four piece play a dreamy kind of folk-like, almost shoegaze style of music and constantly have smiles plastered on their youthful faces. It’s not my cup of tea, but it goes over well, gaining a fair few new fans while they’re here.

Next is Cleveland’s Heart Attack Man. They’ve only played in the UK three times, by their own admission. I remember seeing them supporting State Champs in May 2022. I remembered liking them then. They hit the stage with all of the hallmarks of a pop-punk band; they’re bouncy and fun, but their hardcore influences are more evident on this occasion. They have the crowd jumping and a few of them already know the songs very well. I can definitely see them smashing a headline tour in the

UK soon. And it won’t be small rooms.

Last but by no means least, Spanish Love Songs headline tonight. Taking the stage to Human by The Killers, there is no fanfare, the band take the stage together and kick straight into Lifers and there aren’t too many breaks between songs, so they barely stop for breath or water. Their onstage presence is understated, every move has a purpose, the crowd is worked into singing back (not that they need encouragement) and it is all done with a smile.

Spanish Love Songs are not known for their uplifting lyrics, but their raw emotion and passionate delivery of relatively bleak lyrics. And the thing is, those two words are understatements. Every word sung by vocalist Dylan Slocum is saturated in the raw emotion and passion as if it was the first time it was sung and you can hear the raw emotion of this crowd screaming back at them, almost daring the band to step up their game. From the first line of Lifers, through to the last note of Brave Faces Everyone, the smiles don’t waver from anyone on stage. “This is the best crowd on the tour,” we’re told and in my personal experience, this is the best crowd I’ve been in for a very long time. Everything about this show is joyful, which considering some of the lyrics being screamed back, is the greatest juxtaposition.

There is a mass catharsis in the air, with the latest record being about trying to have a more positive outlook on living. The 2 hour set spans their back catalogue and it feels like it ends too soon, because it is joyful. You leave the room walking a little taller, like a weight has lifted, even just for tonight, because it can’t be this bleak forever…

As much as this is my job, words don’t really do this experience justice. Go see them, as soon as you can.

Until next time, Brave Faces, Everyone.

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