The middle night of Fortuna Pop!'s 15th birthday celebration brings the two ends of the label's spectrum together, with fledgling signings playing alongside the label's biggest band.
With Evans The Death pulling out, round two starts with The Proper Ornaments, whose two singer/guitarists stand at opposite sides of the stage, facing each other in a furious strumming contest. Their laddish take on C86 is drum and reverb heavy, and they're one of the noisiest bands of the week - something that doesn't go unnoticed by the modest crowd.
Shrag's set mixes old favourites including The Habit Creep, Faux Coda and Rabbit Kids with tracks from their forthcoming album, which will be their first on Fortuna Pop! Songs like Devastating Bones sound tighter and more melodic, like they're finally settling into their The Fall-inspired post-punk, riot grrrl sound. It's an exhilarating set that sees singer Helen King crawling and leaping around the stage; one of the highlights of the week.
As elder statesmen of the indiepop scene, Comet Gain lay the chaotic silliness of the previous two bands to rest. Having released records on Kill Rock Stars, Track and Field and Wiija, it seems only right that the seven-piece should eventually gravitate to Fortuna Pop! Their latest album, Howl of The Lonely Crowd, gets a good innings tonight, and their set is a reminder of their subtle influence across the scene. Cramming in girl group harmonies, post-punk rumblings and literate new wave sentiments, they're the look-to-band for the rest of their label-mates, and The Fists In The Pockets gets one of the biggest cheers of the week.
Flavour of the month Crystal Stilts are a much gloomier affair, specialising in fuzzy post-punk of the Jesus and Mary Chain ilk. The Brooklyn band forego the friendly banter of the rest of the week's, singer Brad Hargett instead opting for mean and moody. His growling baritone, which came into its own on their second album, In Love With Oblivion, is lapped up but they lack the charm and spark of other bands.
Tonight belonged to the middle two bands; Shrag oozed youthful energy and ensured their debut Fortuna Pop! release is already eagerly anticipated, while Comet Gain showed the kids how it's done, with a quiet confidence that only time and experience can earn.