Hackney, a place I’m told is so hipster that even most hipsters themselves are sickened by the overwhelming amount of hipness in the air. The only impression I’ve had of it is the trip I made to Oslo, a trendy (a.k.a HIP) restaurant/bar/music venue right next to Hackney Central station (yeah I know hip and handy?!?!). I’ll set the scene a bit… We had just bought a £2.50 bottle of wine and were drinking it out of two water bottles to avoid detection. Needless to say we fooled no one on the tube, as was apparent by the side-along looks we got from onlookers. This did nothing to quell our outrageous enthusiasm for the night ahead, however, because we were off to see the Nottingham band D.I.D, and we had been looking forward to it for at least one whole week. I’ve seen them a good few times and I always love their boyish energy and witty one-liners (as well as the not-so-witty but nonetheless classic quips: “are you guys ready to party?!).
The venue was cool in a far more understated way than expected. It almost feels a bit like a haunted house which I find gives bars that edgy how-did-even-get-here vibe. Reasonably priced drinks and a relaxed atmosphere (possibly a bit too relaxed but I’ll get to that later). The support bands were The Babe Rainbow, who were long haired and psychadelic, and Model Aeroplanes, a Dundee band with similarly dense locks and a more pop-y sound. Both went for it with much hair flicking and a couple of respectably energetic moments. I had qualms with the crowd, who were stationary on the whole and stood a good way away from the stage as if they were afraid they would catch hippie-itis.
As D.I.D took to the stage there was a palpable change in mood, although if I may say nowhere near the energy the band deserves. The crowd were apparently too hip to really bop. That didn’t stop D.I.D totally shredding their opening tune, Two Devils. What an opener! Immediately brought the goods to the table and maintained the passion throughout. They whipped out some of the classics from the last album, including Burial Ground (cheeky saxophone), Glockenspiel Song (opportunity to entirely abandon yourself in some angsty teenage stuff) and Teenage Daughter (very intense and emotional).
The real mustard came with the electrifying performances of the some of the new stuff though. As I rave in my previous review (see https://morecowbellblog.wordpress.com/category/new-kids/), they have grown up and that is showcased in their live personalities. There is commitment to the songs and a darker more moody atmosphere that gives them more space to really ROCK. In previous gigs they might have melded more readily into the lighter indie-pop sound that their support bands provided but here they stood out fearlessly. I could list them all but my favourites were “Fast Food” and an acoustic version of their new track “Killer Whale” which was sounding flawless in 5-part harmony throughout.
So, we left the gig with a sense of profound respect for this band and profound annoyance at the lackluster crowd. Keep an eye on them, they have so much ahead and they have a great live identity. Take the avid enthusiasm but trust me, leave the cheap wine at home.