Saturday 28 July 2012

FOE and Fever Fever at Hoxton Bar and Grill - 26 July 2012

FOE pic by Neil at Wildblanket

Fever Fever are delightfully grumpy.

The weather is too hot for them, and they are suspicious of the Olympics. These tribulations lead to much semi-comic muttering and swearing.

This is all par for the course with the Norwich three piece, who cultivate an air of exasperation and use the resulting energy to power their increasingly brutal and ferocious sound.

Rosie and Ellie rattle their way through songs that crunch and crackle with frustration. It’s recognisably rock but the vocal delivery is much closer to rap, a steady stream of words that form their own percussion.

There are no frills with Fever Fever. Everything is cut back to muscle and sinew and there is no room for light and shade. Their songs are shouty, straight forward and refreshingly honest.  They really don’t put a foot wrong.

There had been some confusion tonight as to whether there were going to be two bands or three on the bill. Various names are printed and advertised, but in the event the gap between the triumphant Fever Fever and the headliners is filled by an incredibly tedious DJ, who appears totally oblivious to the fact that there is no movement from the crowd whatsoever.

This is the third time this year that I’ve seen FOE aka Hannah Clark and her band, and for the third straight time I am confounded.

The first time I saw them they were game but a bit flat, the second time they were a thundering behemoth of rock noise and tonight…well they’re kind of all points in-between.

Clark is sporting a black cowboy jacket and shakes her tassels as she hangs off her microphone or swings her guitar. Her band take their queues from her and there is much whirling of instruments.

And yet, something doesn’t quite sit right. Clark is a fascinating performer in that she is constantly revisiting, rearranging and revising her songs. Just because a song sounded a certain way even a few months ago, does not mean that it will not be altered as her mood takes her. Sometimes this experimentation works, sometimes it does not.

Tonight the results are mixed.  It may just be that I was so impressed with the full on ‘rock’ FOE that I saw last time around that I don’t appreciate the more reigned versions of ‘A Handsome Stranger Called Death’ or ‘Genie In A Coke Can’.

It’s a perfectly enjoyable show, but my high expectations have left me rather disappointed, which is not Clark’s fault. The key point is that FOE are always changing, always interesting, always different. And that’s enough to keep me coming back.

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