Almost 2 years to the day since I got a message asking if I was free to go along and see a friend-of-a-friend’s band play, as they were trying to get some industry attention and needed as big a crowd as they could muster, I saw the same band storm a near-full headline set at King Tut’s.
I was impressed with 100 Fables from that very first show. I have since seen them also win over a very dreich festival crowd at Butefest last year and they have indeed garnered the attention of the music industry and media alike. At first I thought I would have to miss the Tut’s show due to it being mid-week, but then I realised it was the summer holidays, my kids were spending the week at their grandparents, so I was indeed free to go.
After meeting a different friend for tea, browse of city centre record shops and a most delicious pizza, I headed up to the venue. I got there just as the first support were finishing, so literally heard about their last 3 notes. The Whispering Pines were next up, the place was still quite empty, more people in the bar area than on the floor in front of the stage. The band were ok, lots of ballads and slow numbers, which I didn’t really take to and thought were kind of predictable in their format.
The next support was Rigid Soul. I really liked them. Blues-laden rock music, they were young but had a sound akin to the Stones and guitar solos that gave a nod to Zeppelin and co. As the floor filled up, the room became alive and what had started as a small cohort of predominantly the band’s friends and family became a decent crowd dancing and nodding along appreciatively.
100 Fables made the most of being headliners, with more of a deliberately showy stage entrance than before, but once they started playing, they proved that they were entitled to a bit of showmanship. They have added a 2nd guitar, giving that extra layer to the sound and overall a heavier feel than I remember. Somehow, without any keyboards or synths on stage they still sound like a fundamentally electro-pop band, albeit with grungier undertones.
I was pleased to see so many people singing along, they have clearly gathered quite a loyal following in the last couple of years. They played some songs that I had heard before, as well as some new ones. They crammed as many songs into their quite short set as they could, again I got the feeling they were out to impress and show off their fullest range possible.
Their songs are catchy, quirky and they play with rhythm and structure just enough to catch out those not fully familiar with their repertoire with unexpected breaks, changes of pace and segues into Annie Lennox and Killers part-covers. They are fresh, interesting and highly entertaining.
Lead singer Lyndsey steals the show with her swirling, whirling, shimmaying joyful presence on stage, and voice that has a range of different styles and tones than I have heard come from anyone else, but the contribution of the other members should not be overlooked. The band play with more restraint than their lead singer and may not have her overt flair, but they are musicians who are getting better and better and have a more muted charisma themselves. I enjoyed watching all of then at various points.
They snuck a few extra bits of songs in after the scheduled end time. It was late, and some had to leave to catch last trains etc, but many of us were having too much fun and stayed on regardless. 100 Fables are certainly a band on the rise, and I look forward to seeing them fill even bigger venues before too long.