Thursday night at The Shacklewell Arms in Dalston and the venue is packed out.
That's hardly unusual when someone is playing its small stage at the back, but tonight there are a multitude of voices in the crowd; French, British, Italian, Turkish and Spanish fans chatter as the band take to the stage.
The Istanbul-based band The Away Days released their debut album Dreamed At Dawn earlier this year. It’s an impressive debut with nothing in the way of filler, but stripped of that production, and at their first official headline show in the UK, the band take on a new edge.
After a hitch with the sound on frontman Can Ozen’s guitar at the very beginning of the set, they pick up momentum and deliver one gorgeous track after another; immersed in eery blue light that flickers across the stage and casts looming shadows over the stone arches.
Ozen hits those beautiful high notes on ‘Places To Go’ then suddenly recalls Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode on ‘Calm Your Eyes’, nailing the whole dark, brooding frontman thing but also having fun in the intervals where he encourages fans to dance.
Some of the best music transcends any sense of place, and The Away Days’ music is about imagination, taking you away from reality for a brief moment and allowing the mind to drift, filling it with colour and possibility.
Their sound has been compared to everything from Brooklyn shoegaze to California disco, but The Away Days steer clear of tying themselves down to any one set of influences, drawing on everything from rock to world music.
Guitarist Sezer Koç plays those intricate notes on ‘World Horizon’ - one of the standout tracks on the album and its first single - and Ozen jumps down into the crowd for a quick turn around the room as the audience cheer him on - speaking different languages, but all hearing the same thing.