Homeshake @ Kentish Town Forum

 
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A man often eschewing the spotlight, touring sporadically over the years and conducting few interviews, Peter Sagar of Homeshake has carved himself out a unique and idiosyncratic identity in the music world. Sipping on a cup of coffee throughout tonight’s show, and pitching his voice up high or down low through his sampler for any and all interactions with the crowd, Peter proves that whilst his music may be changing, some things just don’t.

Peter and his band are back on these fair shores to promote the latest Homeshake release, Helium, an album which could be seen as a turning point for the project. In a direction-shift first hinted upon and explored with 2017’s Fresh Air, Helium largely ditches with the chorus-laden guitars that were becoming Homeshake’s trademark in favour of woozy synth lines and sampled drums.

 
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As if to prove just how far their sound has come over the years, Homeshake kick things off tonight with a one-two of She Can’t Leave Me Here Alone Tonight and Just Like My, the stand out singles from their first and latest albums respectively. The former, all wonky guitars and stuttering rhythms, sets the crowd moving and sparks the first of many mass sing-alongs of the night, before Just Like My, a triumph with its sparse synths and hip-hop grooves, switches the atmosphere completely, casting a sense of intimacy that belies the size of the venue and the number of people watching.

This tension between the intimate, low-key nature of the majority of Homeshake’s music and the size of the Kentish Town Forum is an interesting one, and provides the greatest test for the band on the night. Some of the sparser numbers have to battle very hard to be heard above the noise of the punters, and whilst most succeeded, Fresh Air, at the midpoint of the show, fell flat. Songs showcased from Helium however, with their fresh new energy, fared far better, with Nothing Could be Better, and it’s wonderful ear-worm of a chorus truly befitting venues of this size and beyond, getting the crowd singing again in a real high-point of the show.

 
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The second-half of the set is particular strong, with several firm fan-favourites given a run out. Peter has to implore the crowd to stop their cheering during a break in the middle of Give It to Me, surely the best kind of hold-up an artist can wish for, and TV Volume’s speaker-testing fuzzed-out solo in the midst of an otherwise quiet slow-jam just shows the secret gears this live band can kick into. By the time the first keyboard stabs of main-set closer Every Single Thing echo around the Forum, any fears of Homeshake’s brand of lo-fi R&B not translating to such a stage have dissipated.

Homeshake eschews your traditional encore, and in its place Peter returns sans-band, loads up the beat to (Secret Track), the final song from Helium, and performs the track solo, moving away from the security of his sampler-stand for the first time all night. A rare display of showmanship that proves it may not just be his music that is changing after all. Standing up at the front barrier, vocals pitched down to almost indistinguishable levels, Peter Sagar, the man behind the moniker, brings the largest London Homeshake show yet to a close:

This is the last thing that happens at the concert. Thank you for coming to the concert. Breathe in, close yours eyes. Breathe in, close your eyes. And fall asleep, and fall asleep, and fall asleep, and fall asleep…