Stepping into Thousand Island is like stepping into a Kubrick film, all red stage light glow, refracted across tin foil walls by a disco ball ceiling. The staircase shimmers a strange shade of pink and as you step across the threshold you lose track of the world outside, all caught up, held hypnotized by the space age silver which surrounds you.
Last Tuesday night saw the little stage above The Garage graced by a co-headline performance from Touts and Vistas, two emerging bands with a mark to leave on the London Indie scene.
Vistas, a young 4 piece from Aberdeen, were the first to take to the stage, announcing their London debut with humble eyes as they looked out at their bristling audience. With Scottish charm and uplifting indie riffs they laid the foundations for a night of audacious rhythms and arrogant streaks, coaxing our hips out of hibernations, tempting us to sway and shift along with their beat.
Their set featured several songs I recognized from Spotify's indie compilations, with their latest single Retrospect drawing a smile on my lips as I caught them curving around familiar words. For Feel Alive they were all smiles glistening under the stage lights, bouncing off the walls with a cheeky side that sucks you in.
There's a sweetness to them as guitarist Dylan hovers around his microphone, tuning in to harmonies with singer Prentice. "Come on come on come over," they sing together splitting into an acapella round as Jamie takes a break from his bass and joins in. Between the four of them, Vistas entwine a red cup house party blush with a shyness so subtle they wrap you up in it, bodies moving along with theirs, only disappointing you with the silence which follows their final song.
Their sugar glazed indie set was followed by Touts, who with a nervy quirk, revitalized a supposed "grey haired" genre by taking your dad's Stiff Little Fingers 7" and sending it hurtling above the London skyline on the stem of a Catherine Wheel, spiraling out of control with all the urgency or their own explosive generation.
Their set was warm fuzz and exhilaration shaken up like a 16 year old's dishwater brew, hidden in their school water bottle, with red lights casting a gritty shadow on once sparling silver walls.
Opening with Stay, a song with and Undertones esque melody, they eased the room into the rest of their night, encouraging you to down your drink, discard the can and get moving.
By Saturday Night Scumbag they had half the room punch-drunk, dizzied and watching with wide eyed from a safe distance, whilst the rest of the room shook the floor, wide awake and bristling, electric, throwing themselves around with a current running between them. From one song to the next they left little time for breathing, a moment spared for cries of support and then...
"This ones called Go Fuck Yourself!"
There's something raw about Touts, like friction burns beneath ripped jeans, something self aware and cynical about the way in which they reclaim slurs and spit on the hipster elite of London with a wit which can't be tamed.
Sold Out, another track from their E.P Sickening and Deplorable, has the air of the angry young man. A short stabbing blitz of a song which draws the crowd closer to the stage, uniting young and old in a ruckus like no other, gathering new bruises and broken glasses on the dancefloor.
A moment of humility before their penultimate song, Political People, leaves the crowd smiling softly, watching with warm eyes as the band discard their guitars and let out a passionate rendition of The Auld Triangle, and Irish ballad which stirs something in the audience, drawing them together all arms around shoulders and eyes closed. With their heads tilted to the ceiling, flecks of light spattered across their skin, those who know the words belt them out, chests rising and falling in time before those sharpened guitars take the plunge, static shocking them into a frenzy once again.
Political People is a song for the disheartened, disenfranchised youth, with gritted teeth and rolling eyes, it’s a song for the adolescent population, swept under the carpet by a different stream of the same smarmy politicians. "Its just political people talking in the same old way," they quip taking a bite out of halfhearted weekend politics and spitting it back out with more conviction than anyone who has ever stepped foot in Downing Street.
They finish with a cover; Van Morrison's Gloria is one last shot of adrenaline, one last rush of blood to the head as both the band and the audience collide, moving as one, yelling "G L O R I A!" Until their vocal chords have been well and truly shredded and their cheeks stained red, gleaming eyes left wide as the lights come on and a security guard struggles to send them shuffling home.
Touts latest single Bombscare, along with their E.P Sickening and deplorable is available on Itunes and Spotify.