Outfit: The Waiting Room, Stoke Newington, London



Outfit make their return to the live stage in London ahead of their hotly-anticpated second album, Getintothis Beth Parker reports on a brand new vehicle.

Technically, having front man, Andrew Hunt, based across the other side of the pond could have meant the end of our favourite quintet, Outfit.

Yet as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder and, luckily for us, the Atlantic Ocean seems to have been the perfect distance for such fondness to develop. Forget everything you’ve ever known about the boys as it’s not only geographical location that’s recently changed but instruments, direction and sound.

After hiding away for a few months while creating the second album, Outfit’s return to the stage was packed full of new material and reworked favourites, which points to a new era for the band. And while we hate to use the cliché of “growing up”, from the brief 45 minute set down in the basement of Stoke Newington’s Waiting Room, that’s definitely what we got a sense of. Swap art rock and synth-like guitars for waltzing instrumental melodies and heady drums and you’re kind of there with Outfit’s latest sound.

We sort of guessed that the group’s latest works would have progressed from Performance, however, what the guys revealed last night was better than we could have wished for. Being fans of percussion, it was great to hear Berger’s drumming take more of a centre stage, steering the way on most of the tracks, as Nick Hunt and Chris Hutchinson’ guitar and bass blended together symbiotically, as did their movements on stage.

Andy’s vocals were as arresting as ever, but there’s an altered element in them, sounding more haunting and desolate. Also leading on keyboard, the younger Hunt’s stage presence has shifted somewhat from enigmatic front man to a more composed and thoughtful spectre. Tom, meanwhile, still provided backing vocals, and was also arranged on keys which gave the music an exaggerated layering of synthetic sound.

If anything is to give an indication to the progression that the boys have made it was hearing, Spraypaint. Louder and more prolonged, where Andy’s vocals were once at the forefront, his soothing tones have now been overtaken by a raw yet lucid instrumental sound which dominated the piece. And a signpost to the new album (which we can’t wait for) came in an, as yet, untitled track which had a harshness and intensity to it that was evidently made to be played out loud to an appreciative live audience. Interesting to, since we last watched Outfit, their own performance on stage was mellowed and took a back seat to the yearning lyrics and hyper-intensified resonances which came through each song.

The set was so obviously enjoyed by the crowd, who were clearly excited to be the first to hear the new songs and their only disappointment must have come in the fact that it was all over too quickly. This is a new phase for one of Merseyside’s most treasured new bands. Get ready for a whole new Outfit.