Stoke Newington High Street on a Wednesday night is, for all intents and purposes, dead, save for a ten yard strip of pavement outside Birthdays, where hotly tipped south London trio, Happyness had drawn crowds.
Bouncing between mellow and fast paced, Happyness are a constantly engaging live act. Their Twitter description of ‘positive but non-committal’ feels poignant as they shuffle on stage, with sometimes ill delivered but always honest banter. It is in their music that they shine. From ironic opener Leave The Party to the instantly recongisable Orange Luz, Happyness slid easily between tempos, instruments, and roles.
Stand out song of the evening was undoubtedly the quietest – Lofts. And, a rare occasion in concert going history, most of the crowd fell silent to appreciate the juxtaposition of the previous up-tempo Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste The Same.
It’s hard to reconcile the idea of Happyness as a trio from these shores. There is a dinstinc Americana to the distorted, hazy vocals, and light hearted harmonies that obscure the surprisingly angsty lyrics. Their wordplay is part of the fun – say feminist phlebotomist five times fast – and it’s easy to get lost in unpacking each song, straining for the alliterations and metaphors, amidst the drunken and pushy crowd.
Happyness’ great strength is in the amalgamation of seemingly opposing themes – they are mellow without being slow, they’re heavy without being dark, they’re funky without being obtuse. On the stage all these elements come together to create a memorable, fun, happy gig that you can’t help but come away from smiling (and, if you haven’t already, purchasing their album).