posted on September 14, 2008 09:04
Foxface, Bats and Others at HWCH (Saturday)
Review Snapshot: Saturday nights in Temple Bar? Difficult to navigate for small-shouldered girls. Last night’s tough weave through the drunken masses proved a task in getting to gigs on time, but the quality of the acts more than made up for logistical difficulties.
The Cluas Verdict? 6.5 out of 10
There’s nothing more enjoyable than watching grown men scream their heads off. That’s just one of the reasons why Bats were one of the most entertaining acts so far at HWCH. Meeting House Square wasn’t as packed as it ought to have been, but faithful Bats fans headbanging at the front more than made up for a relatively empty gig. Lead singer Rupert looks cuddly but sings like an angry grizzly, with every outburst last night echoed with epileptic lighting. Savage screeching, heavy distortion, post-rock guitar riffs and uber energy: Bats have all the elements of a modern, albeit unique, rock band. How could you not like a band who finish the night with a track called ‘Bats Spelled Backwards is Stab’?
Elbowing our way to Andrew’s Lane Theatre, we arrived late and only caught about four tracks by Glasgow folksters Foxface. Foxface masked individuals were scattered around the venue, as well as a couple of band members donning fox masks. Being an unabashed fan of cutesy novelty, that was enough to impress me for starters. The band’s tinkering blend of Celtic melodies with twee anti-folk lyrics really impressed the audience, a very responsive one at that. Reminiscent of Decemberists, Foxface manage to combine old folk tunes with a new sound and sweet likeable vocals.
After the final lilt of Foxface, there was no point in trying to make The Academy or MHS, judging by the amount of time it took us to scurry through the crowds earlier. We prepared ourselves for a bit of a dance when Crayonsmith took to the stage. It never happened though. Having listened to the band on MySpace for a few weeks, and having heard the hype, I expected excess energy, jumping around and fiery charisma. The music was solid, but the performance was lacklustre. Some of the tracks were a little repetitive and the lead vocalist’s voice just sounded monotone. The audience loved it though and the band got a huge response.
Frightened Rabbit wrapped up the gigs at ALT – an enjoyable enough set, but the band sounded far too much like a Biffy Clyro/Death Cab for Cutie lovechild. Being a fan of both bands, you’d imagine I’d be fully supportive of such a love child, but it didn’t do any more than mildly entertain me. If the festival had been more packed this evening, there might have been more of an atmosphere – which was lacking at times. However the bands were of very high quality this evening, and it was even difficult to choose who to see because of bands clashing with each other.
In addition to Steven O'Rourke's Festival Diary for Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 of HWCH 2008, check the following CLUAS reviews of bands who played: