Folk trio turned Electro-pop band Outlya took to the stage at the intimate Camden Assembly on Thursday, October 19, for a sell-out show. The room was buzzing with friends, family and fans alike, liquor or beer in hand, ready for Outlya’s first London headline performance.
As the house lights dimmed, the room was left in blackout, an eery introductory opener combined with a futuristic voice over ‘Welcome to Outlya’ marked the start of the set. This got the crowd excited, as the trio were welcomed on to cheers from the crowd for their pulsing track “Heaven“. There is something pretty special about a hometown gig, making the support faultless throughout.
If I’m completely honest, it may have just been where I was standing, but the boozy crowd were chanting heavily which meant the sound bled between the performance and the chatting from the audience. This was not me being boring, I promise thats never the case, it just made it difficult to really focus and feel immersed in the music at times.
This was no fault from the band, but I think an upgrade in venue size would not have gone a miss and could have solved it. I have no doubt they could have sold out a larger capacity.
Now with that part aside (sorry!), I can not and will not deny Outlya’s energetic and passionate set. Their rebranding from a folk-pop band to the introduction of a heavier sound fused with electronic elements has done them wonders thus certainly guiding them into a more commercial sound. Way more current, way more cool.
The lighting transitioned into a very mellow yellow, an abundance of warmth for their song “Higher“. For me, a very Bastille inspired track, the percussion a driving force behind the track as it ricocheted through the venue, the maracas also adding a funky touch.
Balancing the set well, the next track “1953” was more an uplifting ballad than the previous tracks. Will’s gritty vocals were complimented by the soft backing vocals from Willem and Henry which created a real intentness. With dry ice setting the scene, and a singular blue projective light filling the venue, it created almost a portal like effect, closing in the room and drawing everyone into the more intimate moments.
Will’s presence on stage was so natural and forthcoming and he really had the crowd at his command. Outlya then proceeded to shake up their sound with the introduction of a new track “Call My Name” which Will presented as “genuinely something you can dance too”. And it definitely was.
An eclectic mix of electro-pop combined with a little bit of soul while also hinting at some jazz components, it oozed musicality. The rise from the bass allowed the chorus to explode into a fiercely huge track, with Willem, super tight on drums and the multi-instrumentation from Will on keys and launchpad made it really engaging and exciting to watch. If this is hinting of whats to come for these boys then I’m certainly interested to watch their next step.
It is great to see how far these guys have come over the summer and you can see their humble nature as Will joked around “This is the part where I ask if you are looking forward to the band we are supporting”, and with that they thanked their support act and friends The Tin Pigeons.
They contrasted the set with next song “Burn“. With iPhone torches in the air, it was slower and much more raw as Will took to the keys for a stripped back Tom Odell feel which really showed off his soaring vocals.
Their anthemic production flooded the venue, all their songs had some sort of ability to get the audience involved, the incorporation of a catchy hook into each of their tracks undeniable. This was clear during the title track of their newest release “Volcano“.
The crowd chanting back, it had a real festival feel about it, the red bulbed lighting on the stage behind them complimenting their branding and creating a real imagery around the song. Towards the end of the song confetti cannons erupted amongst the front of the venue, a bit of an interesting touch but for a show they should be proud of, I say why the hell not.
I just want to shoutout to the three guys (possibly the dads, uncles or cousin of the lads) who were getting so stuck in to jumping along to “Howl“, there was about a foot gap between them and the floor. The song was not short of a few hooky ‘woahs’ set for any size gig and perfect for the crowd to get stuck into. It’s a hands in the air, feet jiving, pulse raising fundamental pop track. It was lively to say the least.
Their last song was a heart pounding finisher “The Light” which saw lead singer Will, in true showmanship style leave centre stage for a spot somewhere in the centre of the audience to celebrate with their supporters. Returning to the stage to join Willem and Henry for a gracious bow to finish, you could really see the love of performance radiating from them.
An unexpected end to the set, after some of the venue had cleared out and the remainder of the audience were shouting for an encore, the boys came back onto stage. With just a guitar to hand, they performed an acoustic version of “Volcano”. It was stripped back, just three friends simply jamming, the crowd were singing back, way out of time of course, but it didn’t matter, it was endearing and highlighted their genuine support system.
With some great support tour slots behind them as well as a sell out London headline, this charming, gracious and uplifting trio will be sure to make some serious waves with their fusion of rock, pop and electronic components and memorable melodies. Certainly watch this space because Outlya are on the horizon.
Words by Jodie Brunning