Big Sixes Afloat

Sunday’s are usually reserved for drinking tea and moping about over the thought of work on a Monday but not last Sunday, not one bit of it was spent miserable and that’s thanks to a four piece band called Big Sixes. Charlie, Charles, Toby and Joe had the genius idea of inviting us all down to join them on board a boat for a night of acoustic music and drunken antics; I regret to inform you that if you didn’t get to hear about it then you missed out on a special night.

Walking up to Tamesis Dock with the houses of Parliament as a backdrop, there was already a gut feeling that this wasn’t going to be anything ordinary. Most of us had never been to a venue where there wasn’t solid ground beneath us, however the boat did stay docked much to the relief of a certain few who had tweeted the band in desperation pleading with them not to set sail on the Thames without them.

I was greeted by a very excited looking and somewhat intoxicated Charlie and it wasn’t long before he was handing us Big Sixes sailor hats and temporary sailor themed tattoo sheets. All the effort that went into making this night happen was evidently very much appreciated, twenty something’s had returned to being 5 years old again putting on their hats, asking how many their friends got, and where they could get more of them from.

On the lower deck of the boat the music was already underway, playing alongside Big Sixes that night were Middle Distance, Atlantic Shore and Seafoal. Each act different but sounding incredible, also fitting in perfectly with the theme of the night. Up on deck Big Sixes could be seen socialising with friends and fans alike, although we’ve come to realise that their fans are pretty much considered friends anyway. Conversation around Charlie’s choice of shirt surfaced ,the shirt was a screen shot of a tweet from one of their fans and it read ‘I found Toby from Big Sixes on Tinder,’ it just so happened that the fan in question was on the boat and after recognising the tweet; Charlie took off the shirt and gave it to her. We were told that we could get drinks at the bar using the bands bar tab and these were just the first couple of signs that Sunday night was going to be mind blowing.

Roll on a couple of hours after a few more drinks and the boat was heaving, inside was a sweaty tight space but nobody seemed to care. A few recognisable faces could be seen including Grace, James Veck-Gilodi, Lee Wilson, Max Britton and Antony Flemming … all of whom were more than happy to stop and talk to anyone that had spotted them, not that they could make a quick get away even if they wanted to!

Big Sixes Afloat

© Juliette Carton

At 9pm we saw Big Sixes making their way downstairs where they took centre stage on the bottom deck to start their set. Ushering people towards them and thanking people for coming to see them at the sold out show. Kicking off their set was a currently unnamed song… I think (possibly called Home.) After speaking with Charlie I have been told to describe this to you as ‘ramblings with chord.’ Nevertheless it got everyone hyped and cheering for them. I was of course, right at the front where I got to see the impressive dance moves that were being pulled out by both Charles and Charlie during their set. Every so often there would be a pause where Charlie would ask for another round of applause for the latest member of the band, Joe Haeger on drums … after about the fifth time though I think the novelty had worn off.

The four men have such a unique way of making their audiences feel so in the moment and part of what they’re doing on stage, audience participation, walking out into the crowd to grab phones of the people recording so that they could film themselves and throwing their set list out the window as they asked us what song we wanted to hear next. The guys recognise most of their loyal fan base now and if they don’t then they make the effort to have a chat with you. It’s probably why so many of us roared back their lyrics to them, harmonies and all. Their faces told a story of utter shock and disbelief at just how many people there knew the words to their songs.

Appearing on the set list were new songs Chump, Wonder, Double Barrell Names and Nicholas along with their previous releases taken from last year’s EP The Idles including Heaven Sent, Dust/Dusk, Scared, Unless I’m Mistaken and so many others. My personal favourite of the night was Love Let Me Go which always ends up embedded in my brain for the next week or so after I’ve heard it live. The order of the songs has been debated in great depth, we have yet to come to a decision thanks to alcohol and improvisation.

The end of the set was met with ‘ONE MORE SONG! ONE MORE SONG!’ just before Charlie stepped forward and broke a glass which followed with a unanimous ‘OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE!’ I’m afraid I’ve lost count of how many times I heard the band say thank you to everybody that had come down to see them but I couldn’t help feeling that it definitely should have been the other way round. Free hats, tattoo sheets, drinks at the bar, a shirt, new songs and ALL on a boat in the middle of London … there wasn’t a single unhappy face to be seen on Sunday night. Much to my horror I have a faint memory of telling Charlie I would get the lyrics ‘I think with my dick unless it’s been shaken’ taken from their song Unless I’m Mistaken tattooed in his handwriting … think I’ll have to retract that offer. I missed my last train home after having drunken conversations  and 5 minute goodbyes with everyone, then I woke up with an ungodly hangover having to face work and I wasn’t a bit sorry. To put it simply, if you’re not a fan of Big Sixes what the bloody hell are you doing?

Review by Aimee Thompson