Live Review: Cairobi, Shiners, Dead Ceremony

Hopscotch @ The Social, Little Portland Street, London, 19th January 2016

hopscotch jan 16Words: Nick Jacques

The Social is the setting for this relatively new gig night up in central London. According to the curator Jack Saunders, he wants to etch a hopscotch game onto the floor of the venue so punters can have a bit of fun in leading up to start of the gig. Unfortunately there was no hopscotch game and I was so disappointed! I held my head up to the skies. . . . . Fear not though, having checked out the bands on the Soundcloud song list beforehand, I knew we’d be in for great gig full of exciting and eclectic live music!

Dead Ceremony were up first, a 4 piece who kicked off proceedings with a punch of enticing indie-infused electronica. Full of maturity and depth, this band didn’t disappoint. Their set consisted of old and new material, with the latter suggesting they’re looking to write more expansive and guitar-driven material, as witnessed on the track Magic. Another highlight of their set was an older track called Looking Glass. This was probably my favourite number as it had a great synth intro which was distinctive and catchy, and was definitely one of their more upbeat songs. The band seemed to be more at home playing the track. They ended with the song Heartbeat which yet again left a memorable taste in the mouth. The band left a lasting impression on me.

Next up, was a different kettle of fish altogether. The band Shiners came tearing out of the blocks with bags of swagger and energy, throwing their Stranglers/Blur guitar licks all over the venue. The combination of the rumbling bass lines, clattering impassioned drums and throat-swirling vocals backed up by a perky Vox organ which gave it that bit of substance and backbone. Their singer mentioned the title of one of their tracks called Pressure and I am sure this will get people pogoing like mad at upcoming festivals. Shiners may hark back to the bye-gone era of brit pop but they add a spikey edge to their sound which leaves us wanting more.

The main was act Cairobi and yet again it’s a completely different genre of music that our ears are exposed to and it was a pleasure to hear. They play blissed-out psychedelic grooves that strongly echo the works of Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Tame Impala (Lonerism-era) and get the crowd down to some serious head-nodding. This band is totally capable of that transcendent moment – some of their tracks leave you floating off into your mind whilst managing to remain captivating at the same time. They have a professional set-up which ensures they get the most out of their sound whilst projecting it to the crowd.

I was really surprised at the strength and depth that the gig night Hopscotch had to offer. Jack Saunders has managed to conjure up a great night here on Little Portland Street. And long may it continue (with or without a hopscotch game)!

Check out the next instalment of Hopscotch which includes sets from Saltwater Sun and Will Joseph Cook.

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