Entering The Jazz Cafe in the heart of Camden, walking across the art-deco mosaic floor into the dimly-lit auditorium is a special experience, befitting of an exciting gathering for the Planet Rock Christmas Party. Some of Planet Rock’s favourites were in attendance from Nathan James of Inglorious to Aaron Plows of Dirty Thrills.
The Bad Flowers opened the night with a fully acoustic set, something outside their comfort zone. Dale Tonks was a stand-out feature of the set, wowing with his intricate runs on a fretless 5-string bass. Despite some pre-gig nerves, The Bad Flowers should have had more confidence as their set translated well to acoustic from their usual high-octane sound and a handful of fans had bought tickets just to see their opening set, so support in the crowd was strong.
There was no photo pit at this gig, which meant the chance to strike up conversation with some of the most dedicated fans at the front of the stage, some of whom had travelled from Scandinavia to see Blues Pills and all of whom were set on the idea of Elin Larsson being the current Queen of rock. The first song, "Lady In Gold", title track from their 2016 album, primed Camden for a set the majority which was fast-paced to the point of fatigue. Just as I was wishing for a reprieve, Blues Pills slowed it down with "Little Sun".
There appeared to be a real bond between the audience and band, which was almost inevitable considering how tightly packed the venue was for the sold-out show. The Jazz Cafe was a tale of two halves; a sedate, sophisticated upper layer of diners gazing down at the raucous, sweaty mass below. Between songs Larsson expressed her love for London as ‘her favourite city to perform in’, before launching into a cover of "Somebody To Love" by Jefferson Airplane, reviving the crowd a final time to close out the show with "Devil Man".