Tuesday 15 September 2009

The Farrs, Hindley, Death Cigarettes at Mother 333 12th September 2009

The Farrs

Do you believe in love at first sight?

It was promising to be a pleasant but routine gig at Mother/333 (what IS this venue called?) on Saturday, and as is my habit, I got there in good time for the support acts.

First up were The Farrs, who had travelled down from Leeds for the evening. And in a small room in front of no more than a couple of handfuls of people, I witnessed one of the most devastatingly powerful sets of the year.

At first glance, they seem a regulation band – guitar, bass, drums and a singer – and when they start off at full pelt it augers good things.

Half an hour later I am deaf as a post and in tatters. The Farrs start explosively and just keep motoring, faster and denser throughout the set. They do not let up for a second. It’s like being run over.

Singer Harley is a revelation, never static for a second as he charges about the venue like a mad man, tearing at his clothing, grabbing at girls in the crowd to dance with, spinning them around until they are left dizzy and bewildered, as he moves from one to the next.

Each song is more breakneck than the last, and the band (Ross, Ads and drummer Helen) do well to hold themselves together as Harley bashes into them, his T shirt by now hanging in rags from his body. The energy that the band puts out is astonishing.

In a great piece of theatre, the microphone is tossed to an acquaintance in the crowd, who delivers a tremendously shouty speed-rap into the mix. Harley finishes rolling over and over across the floor of the room.

When The Farrs finally come to a screeching halt we all whoop and applaud. Compared to what we have just seen, it seems an inadequate response. The Farrs describe themselves as “an average band from Leeds”. This is disingenuous – on this evidence, they are one of the best bands in the country.

It speaks volumes for the next act that they can even follow that. But they more than acquit themselves admirably.

Hindley (and there’s a name that will attract headlines should stardom ever beckon) consist of singer/guitarist Red, Gemma and Nixie resplendent in silver lame on guitar and bass and drummer Matt.

The band plays an intelligent, shoegazey pop that builds into an atmospheric performance. Red has a distinctive vocal that suits this sound and the guitars interact agreeably with each other. Nixie and Gemma seem in a world of their own, nodding and bouncing, without ever really acknowledging their front man at all. They have a song called ‘The Violent Hour’, it seems rather appropriate.

I like these guys a lot and will see them again.

The headliners are Death Cigarettes about whom I have written sufficiently to say only that a) they were great as always but b) there were signs of tension - not least when singer Maya introduced them as “the band formerly known as Death Cigarettes”. Whether this presages a name change or something more dramatic will be revealed in the coming weeks.

A terrific night’s entertainment. I saw some favourites do their stuff (and their show at Offset seemed to have swelled the Death Cigarettes audience), but the story of the evening is the discovery of The Farrs, who may be unknown now, but they’ll scorch the wallpaper off any room they find themselves in.

I’m in love – yet again.

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