Juliette Jackson is one of the UK’s most exciting songwriters of the moment. For this reason, seeing her up on stage with her sisters in arms, Celia Archer, Soph Nathan and Fern Ford a.k.a The Big Moon, is a thrill.
Also, irresistibly, she’s wearing a plastic tiara.
It’s 9.45pm and Shoreditch’s Village Underground is teeming. It’s the final date at the end of a roaringly successful tour for The Big Moon’s recently released LP Love in the 4th Dimension, a tour that has “maybe been the best of our life.”
“I’m so over-excited,” Juliette greets us as the band bounce – almost literally – on stage.
Celia (bass and vocals) accounts for their effervescence; palpable even for a band known for its elated performances: “we’ve been fizzing all day; it feels like everyone’s birthday at the same time!”
Well that accounts for the tiara. The crowd – many of them slurping from Coke cans – churn with a similar giddiness as though each one had been issued a personal invite and a slice of birthday cake. This feeling of intimacy permeates the entire show: a great feat considering the vaulted ceilings and bare brick walls. Though I’m near the back, I feel close to the band, as though if I reached out, I’d be able to touch the riffs as they zig-zag through the air and smooth my hands along the “oohs” and “aahhs” (of which there are plenty).
This is, in part, due to the irresistible sing-ability of The Big Moon’s small but mighty perfect repertoire. Silent Movie Susie kicks off the festivities, a perfect match to the purple vinyl I’ve been spinning in my room since the 7th April. From here, The Big Moon go from strength to strength. ‘New Year’s Eve’ melts effortlessly into ‘The Road’, which precedes ‘Cupid’ (“one of our favourites” says Juliette).
They skitter and sigh through go-to cover ‘Beautiful Stranger’ by Madonna, giving it that irresistible nineties riot grrrl kick with sweet verses that give way to a crashing chorus. Through it all, a smartly-co-ordinated light show gives the giant glow-in-the-dark moon backdrop a little something extra. At times, white lights shine directly onto the girls’ backs, giving their silhouettes a dark side of the moon effect. At others, purple dominates, echoing the plastic of their special edition vinyl release.
The Big Moon reach their zenith at the close of the show with ‘Formidable’, ‘Bonfire’ and ‘Sucker’. Someone standing behind me on the metal stairs whispers, almost tearfully, that the former is “such a girls’ anthem.” And indeed, the sound of a hundred girls echoing Jules’ “Hi, I’m not invisible” is enough to make me agree.
Special for its atmosphere, special for the connection between crowd and band, but special, most of all, for those perfectly-written, hedonistically-played songs, The Big Moon’s night at Village Underground feels like everyone’s birthday alright. But especially theirs.