The Deaf Institute
The evening of the hottest day of the year so far couldn’t be better accompanied than by the reassuring sweetness of The Leisure Society. ‘Outside In’ opens their set with an instant summer anthem, honing in on the stamping piano and uplifting chorus. Having only released their most recent album The Fine Art of Hanging On this month, The Leisure Society have hardly given us a chance to consume their new songs. But as a most infectiously likeable band, they call us into welcoming arms with tune after tune of harmless and sunny bliss.
I’m often wary of a flute, especially when shoved on the side of a small stage with a fiddle. Its not unlikable, but often inoffensive and tame. Yet in ‘Nothing Like This’ the flute is no sound filler like the tambourine or a hand bell, rather it flirtatiously bounces off the violin, creating an energetic duo forcing them into centre stage. They own that stage.
“This song was inspired by a visit to the Hastings Fisherman’s Museum”, announces front man Nick Hemming introducing ‘Tall Black Cabins’, “that’s got pop hit written all over it.” The coolest thing about The Leisure Society is their complete awareness of how very uncool they are. An admiring audience of worshipping 50-somethings ought not to be snubbed, and it’s definitely refreshing to see them sing along and fist pump in unashamed adoration. They’re captivated by the older songs such as ‘This Phantom Life’ which acts like a narcotic, disdaining scepticism with invigorating hope.
Finally dropping into the audience for an acoustic rendition of ‘Pancake Day’, rotating the room to give everyone their own private performance, they reach new levels of quaint (there was even an unaccompanied verse of just whistling). There’s no reading between the lines here, it’s merely unadulterated leisure listening perfect for giving you a taste of your future middle ages. And you know what? If I’m still having as much fun as those grey haired fist pumpers were, I can’t bloody wait.