It doesn’t take long from first stepping into north Oxford’s Jericho Tavern to realise just how steeped in musical history the venue truly is.
The pub, situated half way down and thus right in the middle of the action of Jericho’s famously hip Walton Street, prides its intimate upstairs music venue as a platform that helped to launch some of the UK (and beyond)’s biggest ever bands. Local heroes Supergrass, Ride, Radiohead, Foals and Stornoway have all played there during their formative years, with the likes of Bastille, Bombay Bicycle Club, Ben Howard and, one of my personal favourites, Perfume Genius – who I had the pleasure of seeing at the Jericho some eight-to-ten years ago – all going on to make a name for themselves having played there.
On Monday night, it was the turn of Yorkshire outfit allusinlove to follow in the footsteps of those famous names by making the Jericho stage their own. A four-piece originally from Castleford, West Yorkshire, the band formerly known as allusondrugs garnered something of a cult following from live shows in Leeds as early as 2012. After their previous moniker raised the eyebrows of one event booker too many, allusinlove were born following a brief hiatus in late 2018, announcing their return with a four-night residency at Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club over November and December. Fast-forward to Monday night at the Jericho, the band took to the stage after support from local boys Lake Acacia and Sheffield band Hands Off Gretel.
Frontman Jason Moules once said in an interview that “anything we see live played with feeling will always influence us in some way or another” and it’s fair to say that feeling is what we got here, right from jangly indie rock opener Full Circle through to closing track All Good People – the first release from the band’s recent self-titled EP. While the band have previously cited Nirvana as “a huge part” of their formation as a band, All Good People is distinctly more Foo Fighters in execution, though the manner in which the melody crescendos into a strong vocal hook is reminiscent of both bands. Through no fault of his own, Moules’ voice was often lost in the noise of bandmate Andrej Pavlovic’s swirling guitar, so the song’s extended outro provided a welcome opportunity to break from this issue and for the crowd to focus solely on the band’s energetic instrumental performances. Despite that, Moules smiled through every song and moved around the stage with a confident swagger.
In between, the crowd – who were continually encouraged by the band to move forward and occupy the space near the stage with the invitation: “don’t be shy; we may be northern, but we don’t bite” – were treated to older track All My Love, described by Moules himself as “quite catchy”, and brand new song It’s Ok To Talk, a down-tempo yet characteristically noisy track – evidence of a penchant for My Bloody Valentine – that follows along with some of the darker themes of the new EP concerned with broken relationships.
At the end of the set, the band hopped off the stage, sweaty but seemingly very satisfied, mingled with the crowd, and headed to the bar or merch desk accordingly – the same route taken by a collection of bands who are now amongst the country’s favourite of recent times. It’ll be interesting to see whether allusinlove’s tracing of that route stops there, or whether they can take it beyond the doors of the Jericho and onto some of the country’s biggest stages.
Words by James Queralt