Wednesday 10 December 2008

Poni Hoax, Adam Kesher at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen - 4 December 2008

Poni Hoax pic by Gabriel Green

There are four bands due to play tonight, which even at an early stage makes me fearful about whether or not I’ll be able to catch the headliners.

We start off with Kaiko, who are one syllable away from the greatest band that ever existed. Sadly they bear no resemblance to the former pride of Norwich. Good news for them then, that they do rather resemble Coldplay.

They may dress their sound up with occasional noisy guitar interludes and be prone to songs that stretch to five or more minutes in length, but the high pitched tones of singer James Tyler put them firmly in radio friendly melodic rock territory. Kaiko are not my cup of tea, but if the wind blows in their direction they could fill stadiums.

And while we are talking of bands that sound like someone more famous, if I mention The Killers in the same breath as the next act (We Are) Performance, I would very much doubt that I am the first to do so.

Interestingly, the template they follow is that of the epic sounding ‘Sam’s Town’ rather than the Las Vegan’s debut. Giant singer Joe Stretch marches on the spot, his gestures getting ever more expansive (aside from a worrying tendency to pull at the flies of his jeans). The banks of keyboards that flank him are pulverised by Laura and Hilary Marsden.

Now, while I do not doubt for one second that (We Are) Performance and the Killers are a case of parallel evolution rather than one being descended from the other, it is also true that like VHS and Betamax, there is likely to only be one winner. Which is a shame, because (WA)P are very entertaining and have some decent songs. Just unfortunate timing.

The next act is billed as Adam Kesher, but tonight at least, he is accompanied by five other musicians. This lot are genuinely intriguing.

Kesher has one of those non-voices that work well in the right setting. He bellows like a bull in pain, but so catchy are the stripped down dance rhythms that the band produce, that he provides a welcome counter point to what might otherwise seem a mechanical exercise.

Sporadic dancing breaks out in the audience. It isn’t couth, but this combination of Happy Mondays –style yob funk coupled with a more modern, DFA sensibility really works. I shall certainly keep tabs on this lot.

Finally, far too late in the evening, Poni Hoax arrive with a tongue-in-cheek Gallic snarl of “We are Poni hoax and we suck massive hairy cocks!” and launch into a set of full on dementia.

On record, singer Nicolas Ker is aristocratic and suavely smooth. In the flesh he is a sweating and harassed dynamo with his thinning bedraggled hair and his suit apparently at least one size too small for him. He looks like a businessman who has been assaulted on a crowded tube train and is seething with rage about it.

Tonight Poni Hoax are a force of nature, with even gentler songs such as ‘She’s On The Radio’ fizzing with electric energy. When they blast through an up tempo number like ‘Pretty Tall Girls’, they almost take the roof off- by the end of the song the drummer is standing on top of his kit smashing the hell out of the lighting gantry above him.

The band is still in full fury when I have to leave to catch the train. It’s been a fascinating evening, two very good acts, two pretty ok acts. A very decent ratio. I just wish that it had started in time for me to catch it all.

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