Live Review: The Amazons, Oh Boy, Fish Tank

Hopscotch

The Social, Little Portland Street, London, 14th March 2016

hopscotch Words: Nick Jacques

Yet again the Social faithful have congregated to witness another trio of bands hand-picked from the SXSW festival! Hopscotch is a monthly live gig night at The Social and yet again it was packed to the rafters. It had a sense of expectation and anticipation and rightly so with the line-up we were treated to.

We were treated to sets from Fish Tank, a threesome from lovely Broadstairs, Kent. Oh Boy, a noisy but pleasant bunch from Northampton and finally one of the current buzz bands, Reading’s finest The Amazons.

The Social as a venue feels really exclusive. With its smaller- than- small stage, dim and cavernous surroundings, it makes for an intimate setting. And the bands on show excelled at trying to hit every air pocket!

First up were Fish Tank who didn’t disappoint. Their set was crammed with weezer-esque classic rock riffs. A track called The Milk was a stand-out track for me, with its fresh and clever inter-guitar play. The chemistry and structure of their tracks had a playful and enticing spin to them. Full of signature guitar hooks, slashing drums, gurning vocal pitches and throbbing basslines, I was thoroughly impressed by this band. Definitely one to watch out for. They finished off their set with an older track,The Wizard, which reminded me of classic Pavement, this can only be a good thing as I’m a big pavement fan.

Next up were the grunge-influenced five-piece Oh Boy who fused emotive lyrics with a layered guitar racket, hypnotic bass lines, lashings of lead guitar balanced with sweet female vocals that melted our hearts. Tracks like Beautiful Terrible have a depth and maturity about them which suggests that this band aren’t just here to play games – their music has that immediacy that makes you want to sit up and soak up their wall of sound. The Carrot & The Stick was one of the highlights from their squealing, impassioned set. The flowing dynamics on this song let the chorus breathe and left a lasting impression on me. The interplay between the singers was good to see as this showed that the band has character. Clattering and whaling songs like Hand To Mouth were hammered out with a controlled intensity which left my body shaken and stirred. Impressive stuff!

Unfortunately the next band was the last for the evening. The Amazons, have been making waves lately and were recently signed to the same label as the Maccabees and Tame Impala only added to the anticipation surrounding the band who hail from Reading, which has been going through somewhat of a cultural renaissance lately.

They took to the stage with minimum fuss and owned it with their incisive and compelling Kings of Leon style anthems. They also had a slithering dirty grunge sound to their mix too. Power chords and a powerful vocal performance combined effortlessly and engulfed our senses. Ultraviolet was a great example of this with its crunching riffs and soaring vocal yelps.

Their strengths also lie in how build up the anticipation in their songs. Junk Food Forever was a great example of this as it’s a moody and uplifting track executed with aplomb. Another track which caught off guard was the leading synths of Something In The Water which proved that The Amazons have more than just drawing similarities with Kings of Leon. This track had expansive guitar and synth interplay which gives them their own identity and voice.

I really do hope that they continue to develop their sound as they seem to have found a unique take on the anthemic rock sound.

 

All in all it was another triumph for the Hopscotch team. Yet again they managed to surprise me with another showcase of fresh and inspiring rock/indie sounds being offered up by the SXSW festival this year.

I’m already looking forward to the next Hopscotch at the Social!

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