Exclusive Review: Chasing Deer @ Hope and Anchor, Islington.

I spent my Saturday night stalking antelope. Beat that.

What a night.

For an emerging yet unsigned band in the UK, Chasing Deer possess an immense amount of charisma, the kind that is bolstered by the major success they’re eluding. That wasn’t even from listening to them – I and my friend Ivaylo ventured down to the Hope & Anchor in Islington last Saturday (the 23rd of Feb) and found out from the trio what it means to love what you do. Rob’s the vocalist, Adam’s the drummer and Peter finds his stride on guitar. A power trio, akin to The Police in form but not output. Before I saw them play, I had the opportunity to interview them with a rum and coke in hand.

We were all ebullient and pretty stoked to get started so I thought I’d ask them about their latest album, confidently named Hands On. A single was released every month in 2018, accompanied by artwork that placed the single’s title in British Sign Language. Very innovative, so Adam told me that his mum is a BSL user and the band reckoned this would be great for increasing accessibility – certainly eye-catching.

And yet their zeal for variety seems restless. I’m not a rocker but whatever they’ve done on Hands On, I dig it. Rob informed us that when recording, they’re not aligned to highfalutin concepts or a gripe with the wider world. Instead, it’s making that one song on the album speak to a listener – “You don’t have to like everything. We do what we can to make it different.” It’s so rare to find such humility, especially in a band that’s played everything from Japan to in front of the Kenyan president. Now that was impressive, so with a “That went well!”, we took a photo and ventured back inside the pub.

The real sparks came when they began performing half an hour later. The pub harbours a space downstairs for performances like this – a humid, rather compact area that bore an atmosphere sharply attuned to a show. Chasing Deer’s set list for the night can be summarised succinctly – it was as though I and my friend had been struck by lightning. The set featured 10 songs (including Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow that brought out my inner fan girl!) from their album Hands On. The performance showcased Rob’s showmanship and the technicality of our blonde drummer and bearded guitarist.

If I had to pick the highlights, it would be two of their originals. Take Me Up A Level, a quality choice cut from the album that’s even better performed live. Ears ringing and nostrils flared. Boys, you’re doing it right. Yet the closer, Placebo, brought everything home. They have the melody. They have the hooks (I really hope Adam will be considered a drumming virtuoso someday) and the ability to inject emotion and primality into a 45-minute set. The story isn’t done here, though – my aforementioned friend asked them to perform at our next big alternative music function at university. So, watch this space.

Check them out on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/user/chasingdeer

Check them out on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6dYpvLzQD7hengPe9uhize?si=xk3A1vssRpGnlU1AuqfYdQ

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