Hello 2018 is a series of gigs at Shoreditch’s Old Blue Last, curated by DIY magazine to showcase the new names to watch. Though the question remains, are these acts really on the rise, or does the media hype exceed their merit and outstrip their fan base?

First to take the stage are Nervous Conditions. Their neo-noir nightmare soundscape is as bizarre as it is interesting. I’m impressed by how many people they cram together on such a tiny stage – it’s not every day you see violin and sax as part of the back line. As the circus-like show unfolds, I ask myself whether it is actually good, or if the avant-garde wrapping and outlandish instrumental combinations are a mask for misjudgment. Nervous Conditions definitely have potential: if they refine their sound beyond the soundtrack of dystopian novels they will certainly have something going. But will they manage the next step forward?

There are few things more satisfying than coordinated outfits. Possibly the reason for The Beatles’ success, and no less attractive today. Team Picture pose a great example in their marching band-inspired attire. Clothing choices aside, their music is a roller coaster. From blunt staccatos, more cringe than cool, to ethereal underwater psychedelia that sweeps you off your feet – almost, Team Picture definitely need to pin down the best parts of their sound.

Their punk approach definitely evokes some initial allure, though whenyoung might be trying too hard. Yes, their soundscape has interesting enough moments to keep you on edge, and their lyrics and instrumentation are indeed where they should be. Yet, Whenyoung still can’t quite convince me. They are cool and new, and they have custom-made boiler suits, and yet, it’s not quite sharp enough. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I’d say that when they find a tad more edge, Whenyoung can definitely be great.

Though I’m not certain that all of the above will be the hot picks of the year, here are some acts which I have faith in for 2018:

  • White Room
  • Anteros
  • Blinders
  • Alma
  • Hotel Lux

Watch this space – as people used to say 30 years ago.