Ah, Dalston. By far one of the worst places to attend any live event, let alone the basement of Birthdays which heaves with an air of hipster indifference. Unsurprising, given Chinah – with their minimal, casual aesthetic and Shoreditch haircuts – pretty much look like they’ve walked off the Kingsland Road and straight up there.
But this Danish trio are in full-on crowd-pleasing mode tonight, kicking of their set with a glacial synth instrumental before launching into Minds. It’s here that any unsuspecting member of the audience has every right to be blown away – this is their calling card, their sleek and pristine M.O., and it packs enough charm and charisma to level the entire building.
A lot of that is to do with vocalist Fine (bet the band name makes more sense now). She doesn’t need to do much but lets her voice fill the cramped room, seeking out even the duller nooks to get people swaying from the get-go. No warm-up, no gentle entry, and their party continues with We Go Back and Colder.
But somewhere halfway it starts to fall down, either with the fatigue from performing or from being in such an enclosed space, or indeed weighed down by half of the room thinking their own conversations are way more important than what’s on stage. As a result there begins a minor disconnect, starting with a misguided cover of Amerie‘s 1 Thing. Chinah are better than that (which they proved tonight) and the fact that they’ve managed to fill this room on a Wednesday night in such a short space of time does reinforce that. A tighter control over their set – and their audience – could be the key to get them the bigger audience they so deserve.