Anteros Tears the House Down In London
By Erin Cavoto
It’s April 9. I’m standing at the back of the room at London’s Scala. It’s five minutes until ten-o’clock when Anteros are set to go on stage. The room is packed; people are re-entering with refreshed drinks and chatting.
Suddenly, the lights dim and 70s disco music starts pumping through the speakers. Anteros’ drummer Harry Balazs, bassist Josh Rumble, and guitarist Jackson Couzens take their places and begin jamming together. Then, Laura Hayden (lead vocalist) struts on stage, sparkling in silver and commanding the crowd as the band jumps right into a rowdy rendition of “Wrong Side.”
I’m captivated for the next hour, transported to what feels like another dimension that belongs to Hayden, and we’re all along for the ride.
“Wrong Side” rolls rights into the deliciously catchy “Drive On,” written about plastic consumption and the band’s efforts to go green (and put to the test as Hayden sips from her reusable water bottle throughout the show). Hayden doesn’t stop for a moment, dancing, kicking, and grooving on stage. They bang out another tune, “On the Moon,” before Hayden addresses the crowd for the first time.
“I have so many things to say and I don’t know where to start...we’re Anteros!”
Anything Hayden needs to say is said with fervent passion throughout the rest of the set. Hayden is addictingly expressive and emotive the whole time, making you feel the lyrics rather than just hear them.
During “Honey,” for example, the crowd shares Hayden’s anguish with every repeated “fool” in the chorus and through her agonized expressions, adding extra weight on the word. Each “fool” hits home rather than getting lost in the music.
The set continues on with “Ring Ring,” “Drunk,” and “Ordinary Girl,” each packing a punch: “Ring Ring” is tireless and bouncy, “Drunk” is dark and teeming with rockstar-worthy energy, and “Ordinary Girl” is slow and genuine.
My personal favorite part follows, coming about halfway through the set. Hayden asks any girl in the crowd to come up and dance with her on stage for the next song.
“As a girl, I have spent my entire life being told what I need to look like,” she tells the audience. “A couple years ago, I decided to start embracing myself for who I am and the wonderful women around me. Together, we are the perfect women.”
Well over a dozen girls join Hayden on stage, ranging from teens and up. The band breaks into “Bonnie,” and Hayden dances with her new temporary bandmates for the whole song. At one point, she sings along with one of the girls and twirls her, which sprouts actual tears in my eyes. It’s sincere and empowering and easy to see Hayden’s joy getting to do this every night.
Anteros blazes through the rest of their album, treating each track as its own individual anthem. Each is personal and nuanced, especially “Let It Out” which feels like a bluesy ballad, Hayden belting out the chorus and sending chills through the crowd.
Hayden adopts a guitar for the first time for “Afterglow,” cementing her badass status. The crowd goes wild for “Breakfast” and “Call Your Mother” before they finish out the show with Anteros’ eponymous single, the crowd singing back the chorus.
The show ends the way it began, Hayden exiting in a silver blur before the song ends.
It feels like highway robbery seeing Anteros in an intimate venue in the middle of London. Anteros delivered a show like rock legends who have been at it for ages. Hayden has moments reminiscent of Stevie Nicks, Gwen Stefani, Gaga — I kept racking my brain to think of who she kept reminding me of. And then I realized — this is Laura Hayden. And this is Anteros.