Live Review: Hooray For Earth, Famy, Coves

London's Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen; what an excellent venue. Tuesday night was my first visit and I found myself served with brilliant performances from Coves (UK band of that name), Famy (from southern France) and headliners, US-based Hooray For Earth.

Leamington's Coves were up first - As the crowd trickled in gradually, thankfully obscuring the frankly disorientating mirrorball reflections across the floor, the 3-piece (vocals, guitar, drums) pushed out a raw, driving sound falling somewhere along a spectrum including The Kills and the J&MC. Top class tunes to be honest and delivered like they meant it. Having followed up to hear what's out there in terms of recorded material (there's an EP available - Honeybee included here below), I can full-heartedly say that this is a band you need to see live before making any judgements. Impressive stuff.

Filling the middle slot, Famy were a pleasant surprise - I found myself unable to easily shoehorn their sound into any 'genre' I'm familiar with - which is an occurrence that I find is all-too-rare in recent years. Opening with the spectral chants of Mother Benita (from EP released last year - also included here), the band played through a selection of tracks that I found myself completely absorbed by - going off in unexpected directions while still retaining some spiky hooks and overlaid with absolutely distinctive vocals.

In a recent interview with Addict Music, the band described their style as;

"Our sound is kind of delicate and bold, and it’s honest and has guts."

I couldn't agree more. I certainly enjoyed their short set.

Hooray For Earth made a massive impression on me last year with the release of single True Loves which was accompanied by an epically fantastic video. Since then I've been awaiting the release of the album of the same name, which sadly has been a bit hit-and-miss in terms of availability depending on which country you're asking from... Newer single No Love is now out though, and if the LP isn't too - then I'm pretty sure it will be very soon.

Tuesday night saw Hooray for Earth (Noel Heroux, Joseph Ciampini, Christopher Principe) joined by Jessica Zambri for a 45-minute set that was everything I had hoped it would be. The band themselves have a sound that is hard to classify (*applauds again*) with elements of indiesque electronica, 80's anthemic tunage, dub reggae and even liberal use of 'noise' in the vein of Sonic Youth, all of which can be found in my 'Bag of Favourite Things' so no surprise then that my ears were more than happy. Listen below for a 'fair' recording of True Loves.

I recognised most of the tracks in the set Realize It's Not The Sun and Sails kicking off proceedings to begin with, Bring Us Closer Together ramping things up with it's incredibly anthemic chorus plus singles True Loves and No Love finding their place amidst a couple of tracks that were new to me, but still very much enjoyed and warrant a little further research on my part. What really stood out was drummer Ciampini's scatterbomb rhythms, which I have a feeling is exactly what goes a long way to underpinning what defines Hooray For Earth's characteristic sound. Plus of course the unexpected entertainment value - It was hard to tell whether his expression was one of ecstatic joy or murderous intent. Quite unnerving either way ...

Penultimate main-set closer was Black Trees, which much like Bring Us Closer Together has a somewhat epic feel to it - but in this case slower and more mellow. Would make great end-credits soundtrack to a film that left you both uplifted and perturbed at the same time - if that's at all possible. Luckily, for the purposes of this review, 'sandham' has some footage of the number just uploaded on YouTube which seems appropriate to include.

The show concluded with a pounding upbeat track that was described by Heroux as "an old song" as he turned the tables and left the stage to instead "have a listen" from the point of view of the crowd, whilst numerous audience members were encouraged up on stage by Zambri in order to generally tit-about, bounce around and clap - which was bloody hilarious. Impromptu audience particiation - Love it.

So, a pretty damn good night - Two bands I now have on my radar that I hadn't before and a great show from Hooray For Earth - who I hope don't take too long a time before revisiting these shores once again. They play last UK date for a while at Glasgow's 'Nice and Sleazy' tonight (Thursday 1st) which I'd happily go to if only Glasgow was ummmm .. not where Glasgow actually is (bit of a trek) ...

(Note: Photos included are to be credited to www.le-hiboo.com, from the previous gig last week in Paris, as my own photos were truly awful)

EDIT: Dodgy Bootleg @ http://i.mixcloud.com/CBJdYG