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Kids In Glass Houses Keep It Smart Casual In London

[Photos by: Sam Nahirny]

Kids In Glass Houses can’t quite believe they are doing this again. Vocalist Aled Philips is standing on a stage that the band also played on back in 2011. That’s the Kentish Town Forum in London. They were also headlining that day, and their supporting cast, Save Your Breath, Blitz Kids, and Francesqa, perfectly encapsulated British rock at the time. Fast-forward to today, and he’s admitting to a packed room that show 12 years ago was a bit of a disaster. Yet, in life, we cannot hang on to the things that don’t go quite right. That’s why them being back here feels so poignant. It’s why them being back together as a band after nine years apart feels so fresh. And most importantly, it’s why using this opportunity to celebrate 15 years of their debut album Smart Casual feels so necessary.

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Kids In Glass Houses played their first shows since their 2014 Cardiff farewell at Slam Dunk Festival this Summer. In many ways, that was the cathartic release. The moment to unleash all the feelings that nearly a decade away had pent up. This tour of the UK is where the real business comes into play. A chance to rejoice in their return whilst also making the dreams of several thousand people come true. And with “The Boys Are Back in Town” by Thin Lizzy and “Reunited” by Peaches & Herb blasting out of the speakers as the quintet takes to the stage, you can feel exactly what it means to every soul packed in.

The band chose to celebrate Smart Casual by playing it from front to back, and because of that, there are few better set openers than the rampant “Fisticuffs“. Its raucous riffing transports you back to a time when British rock was at its cheekiest and most crushing. There’s a youthful vibrancy to the songs that make up this album, an unrelenting sunshine that glistens out of every pour. It’s difficult not to get caught up in the joy of it all, and as the addictive “Easy Tiger” shares its indie sensibilities and “Give Me What I Want” produces the first big singalong of the night, you can feel the years falling away once again.

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Following a spine-tingling showing of “Saturday“, Aled declares that we are now in deep-cut territory. “Lovely Bones” is the sort of romantic belter that deserves to be on every mixtape, while “Girls” feels like the best song The 1975 have never written. The sheer quality of these songs, appearing on a debut album no less, is undeniable. There’s a good reason they have stuck with so many for so many years, and their effect is evident from front to back.

Raise Hell” has friends screaming in each other’s faces like it’s the last thing they will ever do. Whilst “Dance All Night” has them spinning each other around. As “Church Tongue” brings this portion of the set to a close, there’s a feeling of shared euphoria at what has been allowed to happen. A return to the carefreeness of the first decade of the millennium and a reminder of just how it felt to feel alive at that time, is joy in its purest form.

Though Kids In Glass Houses aren’t done just yet. A six-song encore featuring five from their 2010 album Dirt feels like the cherry on top of the sundae. “Sunshine” illuminates the room, whilst “Lilli Rose” has the most misty-eyed of lovers falling head over heels all over again. Rounding things out with a thunderous “Matters At All“, this is one hell of a victory for the band and the British scene as a whole.

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Watching one of the most important members of a movement that still is reverberating through the new school now conquer in such a way is, on the one hand, incredibly special. On the other, to see them do it with such vigour and vibrancy feels like the beginning of an incredible second chapter. With this performance as their foundation, there’s no knowing just how far they can climb this time around. But no matter what happens, moments like this are what it is all about.

Kids In Glass Houses never thought they were going to do this again. Based on tonight, you can guarantee that they are so glad that they are.

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