Previously known simply as ‘The Moon’, the Big Moon’s name change seems pertinent. In hardly a year, Jules Jackson and her bandmates, carefully vetted through a process of nights out in an Islington pub, have released a slew of singles and EPs, each one declaring them as more qualified than the last.
As they bring their UK-wide ‘Tourtoise Tour’ to Sheffield’s Picture House Social, they appear excruciatingly close to a full-blown debut album. It suddenly looks like the Big Moon are, well, getting big. Slap-happy, vaudevillian punks Trudy and the Romance are in support, serving an enjoyably sweat-drenched and juvenile performance.
Before long, the Big Moon take to the stage letting the three very loud and unapologetic opening chords of ‘Silent Movie Suzie’ steamroller their way through the sets opening bars. Given the setting of the show its title seems apt but the racket it makes in the Picture House’s nostalgic surroundings is wonderfully jarring with the venue’s former use.
Gladly treating us to their take on Madonna’s psychedelic pop hit, ‘Beautiful Stranger’, the Big Moon contort it from its original shape into another beautifully fuzzy, saccharine romp. What follows is an onslaught of bruising, instantly memorable punk-pop. Numbers like ‘Cupid’ and ‘The Road’ prove themselves as short, sharp gems, trimmed of all fat and full of brazen choruses.
Almost unnervingly tall, Jules can move seamlessly to where she wants to be within a couple of strides. This includes the front row of the audience at one point, mid-song, guitar in hand. Her bandmate Soph Nathan then lets us know that we are the third audience to ever hear their newest, untitled song. With characteristic spontaneity, we witness them collectively decide it is their favourite in the moments before they play it.
Stopping the night short of being completely enjoyable, a frustratingly recognisable routine plays out. The more you try to ignore the blockheaded sexist hecklers at the front, the more you’re reminded of the gaping, embarrassing, and utterly ignored gender gap in the music industry.
It serves as another sad proof that female musicians are still seen as (at best) quaint little oddities on the scene or (at worse) as the providers of nothing more than a perverse, musical peepshow for the gawking, male bulk of live audiences. We are off to a good start tonight, but it’s going to take many more Jules Jackons leading many more Big Moons until this starts to change.