It’s the first night of the Community LDN Festival, an event which has been organised by the Reading and Leeds big bosses Festival Republic. It takes place in various venues across East London and tonight Hoxton’s Square Bar & Kitchen is headlined by Chelmsford’s very own RAT BOY. The Essex native has built up an impressive following on social media, and after scanning the room it appears that following has transpired IRL too.
At just nineteen Jordan Cardy – who performs alongside his band under his rodential pseudonym – is no stranger to the live scene. After spending the majority of the year on the road supporting bands like Circa Waves, he embarked on his first headline tour, as well as a summer full of festivals.
The set begins with a selection of tracks from Cardy’s first two mixtapes. Knock Knock Knock, from the Neighbourhood Watch release, is frenzied and fierce with spiralling guitar riffs and blazing percussion while Sportswear, from the first mixtape, is one of the rare more mellow moments of the evening as tales are told of “Ed Hardy jeans and broken dreams.”
Midway through the set comes most recent B-side Wasteman. The song is filled with brassy samples to match the brassy exterior of Cardy and the lyrics he relays appear very relatable to the young but not disengaged audience: “Living in the modern day class war, the rich are getting richer, the poor are staying poor.”
Fellow B-side Left 4 Dead also gathers a massive crowd reaction as about twenty teenagers, dressed like extras from This Is England 90, mosh to the humorously honest lyrics: “I’ve just got to nip up the Co-op, it’s just down the road, I think they’ve got a working cash machine.”
Unemployment anthem Sign On is the penultimate track in the set, with the now trademark line: “Young, dumb, living off Mum, waiting for the right time to come” and some unmistakeable and seriously infectious guitar riffs.
Fake I.D. ends the gig and is in close competition with Sign On for the loudest crowd reaction. Lyrics like: “Where’s your iPhone 6? I ain’t stealing this shit” show that RAT BOY isn’t the most serious musician – although you only need to take a glance at his Twitter feed to establish that – but also that he knows what it’s like growing up in Britain at the moment, because he’s doing it too.
After witnessing the crowd adoration this evening, there’s no denying that Jordan Cardy’s voice is at the forefront of his generation, you only have to see the masses of teenagers hanging off of his every word to believe it.
Watch the video for Fake I.D. below:
Words and photo by Shannon Cotton