They say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and this is quite true (unless it’s Mills and Boon) but, Hawthorne Heights have proven that you should not judge a band by their appearance either. Now, I’m new to Hawthorne Heights and still am – a mere three weeks – but I have never appreciated how hard-working certain bands are that are out there today (and believe me I’ve done enough Press Releases on some real (what I like to call ‘pants bands’) and none of them are where Hawthorne Heights are, both talented and technically) until I started listening to these guys. I’ve heard of them before, anything that is ‘alternative rock’ (which they’re not) that gets into the top 200 of the Billboard chart will eventually make its way across the Atlantic to our little Island. No.50 I might add. I heard of these guys a couple of years ago on
Kerrrang! or Scuzz and thought, ‘Yeah, not bad… but yet another Screamo band coming your way’ Then my boss at GeeksUnleashed asked me to review their latest E.P. Hope, and……. wow! They are something unique. Think Alkaline Trio mixed with LostProphets, not exactly like that but for the sake of categories, then think them. Hope was amazing and if you want to know more about that then read my other article about it, but what I’m here to talk about is seeing them live in my second home of Kingston-Upon-Thames, London. The newly refurbished venue The Peel has become very underrated for live music, it has the space, the acoustics and perhaps more importantly, the bar was tasty, well stocked and decent (which is hard to find) bar staff.
I wasn’t expecting so many support bands – should’ve read the tour date poster correctly. And if you mixed them all together then you would have something spectacular, but individually, what can I say without sounding…. harsh. Then again a lot of that was down to sound management. I understand that drums are the beat of songs and dictate the rhythm, but it’s not all that you should hear, especially whilst a cute Hayley Williams of Paramore-esque vocalist is singing perfectly above the bass covered venue.
I have to intermit here and say that I was disappointed to see that Hawthorne Heights were very rarely seen whilst the “warm-ups” were onstage. Something that I would think that a “relatively-unknown” band in Europe would want to promote. Support.
But with that small personal discrepancy out-of-the-way, the tiny crowd boomed within seconds of HH taking to the stage.
Glittery Guitars Galore. Sounds like a cheap gimmick, but if you’re like me and you love bands who think more about their music and also focus on the aesthetic of their show at the same time, and in this small arena, glittery guitars make a world of difference. Hawthorne Heights opened powerfully and glued in the right mix of older songs, and you could feel the enthusiasm, especially from the albums Fragile Future and their latest Hope was something amazingly professional. Their seriousness of which they take to performing and focus on their music is astounding and at the same time, you have to appreciate the fact that, in-between songs, humour ruled with a beautiful distinction between the band and their lyrics.
Their technicality really showed, they were tight and you couldn’t tell if you were listening to the cd or the group live (luckily for me…live). The screaming sound of the band not only complemented the music but also added a great rhythmic beat to the bass and was professionally added to compensate for the – previously- too loud drums. And (once again, if you’re like me) it was awesome to see a live punk band again.
It was awesome that the band wasn’t fazed by the small crowds at the beginning, it was a further more amount of awesome to see the numbers multiplying by the seconds and in such a small-scale venue, to watch the crowds bursting with energy as opposed to those who just stand there – like grungy zombies – and there is only one height that HH will be going and that’s all the way to the top. I look forward to seeing them soon, somewhere like Camden Roundhouse would be perfect. Oh by the way did I mention that they’re playing in Camden on the 24th October? No….silly me.