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  • Jack Starr

The Big Moon Review – Indie-Rockers Return to the Stage with an Ode to Motherhood

Photography: Tom Sunderland

It’s been a tumultuous two years for indie-pop-rock quartet The Big Moon. Their brilliant second album, Walking Like We Do, thrust them into the mainstream eye back in January 2020 – right at the dawn of the pandemic. With tours and festivals cancelled, the band were stuck in limbo – supporting themselves by teaching music online, despite having a Top 40 album. The biggest event for lead singer-songwriter Jules Jackson, however, was becoming a mother.

The theme of their new upcoming record, Here is Everything, is just that – motherhood. The striking album artwork features Jackson posing with a very prominent baby-bump. Even the new t-shirts at the merchandise stall feature the band’s logo with the silhouette of a pregnant woman, stylised to look like a mountain range. Kicking off their promotional tour for the new album, The Big Moon played to an almost sold-out crowd at the Leadmill – many of whom were getting to see the band for the first time, the show having been rescheduled around the pandemic.

Photography: Tom Sunderland

‘This is a song about getting a positive pregnancy test,’ Jackson announces, followed by the next song: ‘this one is about breastfeeding’. The new songs are a very personal and stark, yet joyous, exploration of this new chapter of her life. She delves into the fears and anxieties, the traumas, as well as the elation and bliss. This theme pairs into the overall zeitgeist of the pandemic, with the collective uncertainty and lack of guidance. The Big Moon has always had strong songwriting – but tracks like ‘Trouble’ really show a new depth and maturity to their craft.

Unfortunately, the band were met with disaster shortly before the gig – their equipment had gone missing in Spain and had failed to arrive in the UK on time. The list of missing items included distortion pedals, power supplies, a trumpet and two flutes. Thanks to helpful volunteers in Sheffield, they managed to piece together enough equipment for the show to go ahead – though they had to make do with only one flute. ‘It’s meant to be a flute duet,’ they joked on-stage. The show did not suffer whatsoever for this – effects pedals can’t make or break a band with so much heart.

Photography: Tom Sunderland

Towards the end of the set, they brought the mood up with – unexpectedly – a cover version of Fatboy Slim’s iconic 1999 big-beat anthem ‘Praise You’. This geared up a huge crowd reaction – everyone clapped along and sang every lyric. Though the group are stylistically indie-alternative-rock, they do have roots in pop and dance, as we discussed in our interview with drummer Fern Ford. ‘Praise You’ was an excellent choice for a cover, and made for the most memorable moment of the night.

For the encore, they rewarded fans with two popular tracks from their last album: ‘Waves’, and finally, ‘Your Light’ – their most accomplished song to date, with its slick new-wave guitar bridges and its synth-pop choruses. The crowd went wild for it – this was a gig more than two years in the making, and it was certainly worth the wait.

Photography: Tom Sunderland

The supporting acts were also exceptional. The opener was Ellur, a young singer-songwriter from Halifax with a great aesthetic. She played light-hearted indie-pop themed around her relationships. The second supporting band, Gently Tender, are the side-project of Big Moon keyboardist and bassist Celia Archer, playing with the former remnants of indie rock group Palma Violets. This group have a folk-ish, almost psychedelic take on indie.

The Big Moon are currently touring the UK. Their new album, Here is Everything, comes out on the 14th of October. Their new singles, ‘Wide Eyes’ and ‘Trouble’, are available now.


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