Live Review – Daytime TV @ The Castle & Falcon

Daytime TV © Paul Reynolds

Daytime TV

The Castle & Falcon

Review by George Wainwright

Daytime TV – living proof that guitar music never left

As of 2021, the British charts are comprised of a cluster of genres. In November, post-punk, rap, hip-hop and good old fashioned indie have all comfortably settled into an eclectic top ten. But for modern music lovers, the absence of guitar music is blatantly obvious. Despite the repetitive airplay of Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand, it’s been decades since deafening riffs dominated the airwaves. Rarer still than radio play is the opportunity to experience guitar music live; but on their latest headline tour, Daytime TV are keen to reignite the genre for audiences across the UK.

I catch up with Daytime TV at The Castle and Falcon on their penultimate night of touring. Previously, the four-piece have played to sold out crowds in London, Glasgow and Manchester, and the Birmingham showing is no exception. The Castle and Falcon is bustling ahead of the arrival of the band. Against a backdrop of television static, frontman Will Irvine prowls on stage. Irvine launches into set opener ‘We Can’t Be Friends’, snarling down the microphone. His angst fuelled vocals are just barely audible above the screeching lead guitar, provided by the long haired John Caddick. The volume in the room rises verse by verse, rip-roaring into the second song. ‘Electric’ lends more to the expertise of drummer Gareth Thompson, laying down a driving rhythm which is fine tuned by Chris Clark on bass. The television screens crackle with static as the set is baptised by an abundance of guitar feedback.

Irvine leads the charge through a barrage of radio ready bangers. ‘Ugly’ is a tune straight from the back catalogue of Alex Turner circa 2006. The scorching lead guitar wouldn’t sound so out of place on the Monkey’s debut album. Big shoes to fill; but these boys have on their dancing shoes tonight. The crowd is sent into an arms in the air frenzy for fan favourite “’Teeth’. The energetic atmosphere is fuelled by the urgent vocal delivery of Irvine. He delivers every line as if it’s his last, lamenting over a complicated love life. The mood is dialled down a notch for ‘Drive’, played with similar vigour but certainly from a more somber perspective. Between songs, the band takes a moment to soak in introspection, a recognition of just how far they’ve come. Irvine proclaims that he feels lucky to be playing live music again; a sentiment which the audience shares unanimously.

The playful energy of Daytime TV can’t be contained for long, and the volume is dialled up to the max. ‘Dirty Love’ takes on a glitchy synth lead before bursting into the familiarity of rapid, noisy downstrokes. Clark playfully points his bass into the crowd, firing it into popular number ‘Communication’. ‘Communication’ is an infectious song that seeps through the energetic audience, belting out the words to the catchy chorus. Aptly, the song borrows obvious inspiration from Red Hot Chilli Peppers’, sounding like an up-tempo rendition of ‘Californication’.

In the latter parts of the set, Irvine cradles his microphone stand to keep himself steady. This extensive tour with all its energy is bound to have exhausted his rock and roll persona, running his hand through his hair exasperatedly during ‘Hush’. Appropriately, Irvine reigns himself in for an acoustic version of ‘Ugly’, reimagined for a second run in the set-list. For the first time all night, the room is hushed. The haunting sounds of melodic piano spiral in the air, accompanied by crooning vocals. But the acoustics are swapped out for electrics once more for an electrifying encore of ‘Zombie’. Irvine ends on a pitchy high note, his guitar held aloft in a victorious superstar stance. Tonight, the stars have stepped through the silver screen, and they’re here live on stage instead.

With the arrival of Sam Fender into the mainstream, and a much anticipated Arctic Monkeys return expected imminently, it feels as if guitar music is back from the dead. Daytime TV were weeping at the altar for the funeral; it feels very much as if they’ll also be front and centre for the resurrection.