The Big Moon Review by Rob Johnson
The Big Moon are all about Big Feelings. They occupy the same lyrical space as Self Esteem whilst still being very much their own thing. Lead singer Jules Jackson can do lovelorn, self-deprecating and exhausted, often within the same song, and it is this, combined with their outward appearance of being a proper girl gang onstage that has seen the band propelled to big festival stages in ever-larger venues. It is a treat, then, to be afforded the opportunity to catch them at York’s The Crescent Community Centre, a 300-cap venue where the band are playing as part of a grassroots venue tour in conjunction with The National Lottery and United By Music.
The band take to the stage to the unmistakable opening riff of ‘Man, I Feel Like a Woman’ by Shania Twain before tearing into their beautiful ballad ‘Wide Eyes’. This is one of 8 tracks from latest album Here is Everything and it’s clear that the band adore these songs. ‘Barcelona’ sees Jackson yearning for connection in a world of bitcoin millionaires and awkward parties before ‘Don’t Think’ laments “avoiding all your shy mates and trailing in the wake of the loud ones” before breaking into the kind of huge chorus that the band have always done so well. Bassist Celia Archer and guitarist Soph Nathan belt it out along with Jackson while drummer Ferd Ford keeps the beat.
‘Daydreaming’ sees the crowd singing along, much to the delight of Jackson who proclaims they sound ‘like a choir’. Second album Walking Like We Do saw the band transition away from crunching guitars to a more synth and keyboard-orientated sound but hearing the band play a punched-up version of ‘Take a Piece’ offers a tantalizing glimpse into what might have happened had The Big Moon continued with the template they set on their debut album. The song soars through the packed North Yorkshire venue and despite Jackson struggling with her voice a couple of times, in the big moments she still sounds electric.
The response to ‘2 Lines’ confirms that their latest material is just as beloved as their earlier stuff but when the band do finally treat the crowd to a track from their debut album, it’s a real moment. Ford directs Jackson, Archer and Nathan underneath the spotlight so they can perform the first verse of early single ‘Formidable’ acapella before the crashing drums and biting guitar sound drop and fill every corner of the venue with their trademark power pop sound. Phenomenal. Next up, the crowd sing along to every word of ‘Cupid’ before an exquisite run-through of ‘Trouble’ closes out the first part of the set.
The band return to the stage, but not before Archer shares her insecurities about the crowd cheering during the encore. She needn’t worry, everyone is desperate for more, and a spirited rendition of ‘Bonfire’ that sees Jackson delve into the audience for some mass crouching would act as the perfect set closer if not for the song that has come to define The Big Moon.
‘Your Light’ is quite simply a monster of a song. The backing vocals. That chorus. The lyrics. It was an instant classic when it was released in 2020 and retains that classic status now. The band smile from ear to ear. The crowd go wild. It’s a fitting end to a special night.
While there is a nagging sadness to the idea that it’s unlikely that we’ll have the opportunity to see an artist this good in a venue this intimate for a while, there is no denying that The Big Moon knows how to put on a show. Marvellous.