Live Review: Stats, Ryder The Eagle + White Flowers at Bermondsey Social Club

This was my first time at London’s Bermondsey Social Club (BSC) to see Stats here to promote their new album ‘Other People’s Lives’. BSC is a short walk from Bermondsey Tube and Surrey Quays Overground station ending with a long walk alongside railway arches. This is a compact venue with a small raised stage and if you’re in the audience you’re also at the bar.

Support came from two contrasting acts, first of which were Preston’s White Flowers. They are Katie Drew (keyboards, vocals) and Joey Cobb (guitar) and give us ethereal and cosmic music with heavily reverbed vocals and guitar hovering over swooshy keyboard sounds (think Julee Cruise and School of Seven Bells via the Cocteau Twins). There is a welcome edge to their widescreen horizons and although I don’t think this was their ideal audience I saw enough people blissed out to think they picked up a few new fans.

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Next up was Ryder the Eagle who says of himself “I’m a dirty crooner, restless biker, and a dedicated lover”. It’s hard to describe what I witnessed. Ryder took to the stage in a Miami Vice white suit, white t-shirt and white cowboy boots. He performed his set singing to a backing track and within four songs he had discarded his jacket and was walking through the audience kneeling, pointing and gyrating. Within another two songs he was topless and singing from the top of the bar. This was an un-ironic, fully committed performance that won over most of the crowd who whooped and hollered; all adding to a vibe of Karaoke/Magic Mike on acid.

Stats are fronted by the charismatic Ed Seed (formerly of The Mules and someone who has toured with both La Roux and Dua Lipa) and are fully committed from the first rhythmic bars of their opening number. I love garage and lo-fi but as much as it’s great to wear your favourite beat-up trainers it’s a treat to put on an expensive pair of shoes and Stats are a luxury brand. They are obviously well rehearsed and take their look seriously, favouring a mainly black and white colour scheme, and on stage Ed is flanked by two keyboard players with a guitarist, drums and bass behind. But this is not style over content. Stats weave their brand of dance-pop through languid electro-funk (‘Where is the Money’), catchy-repetitive grooves (‘Rhythm of the Heart’), pop anthems that would make A-Ha jealous (‘The Family Business’) and circa ‘Remain in Light’ Talking Heads (‘I Am An Animal’).

They are simultaneously brilliantly familiar and gloriously new and with the band in lockstep Ed can let the clarity of his voice butterfly above the music or punch through the funk. When he’s not offering up scalpel cuts of guitar riffs he is free to jerk, twist and throw his arms in the air or pull off some Mick Jagger tambourine moves. The band is a revelation: accomplished players who bring energy and panache to the performance and also impress with 4-part layered harmonies.

Stats are as crisp as an iced Pinot Grigio on a hot summer’s day. They have the personality and professionalism to appeal to the higher brain functions and have tamed the wild beast of rhythm in order to appeal to the lower brain’s need to dance. They are a class act that sparkle on record and dazzle live.

Review and photography by Paul F Cook

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