REVIEW gig Broken Hands supporting The Cult @ Rock City 29/02/2016

Broken Hands Support The Cult

As a 21 year old who is a fan of heavier music styles as well as ska and punk, the gigs I tend to frequent are usually packed out, close to full capacity and heaving with shirtless, sweaty men with hair down their backs, t-shirts in hand and supporting a colourful array of tattered festival wristbands.

This gig was a just a tad different. The venue was rammed. Everyone was in head to toe black (not too dissimilar from normal). The only major difference was that every person there was at least 20 years my senior with greying hair and clutching on to their better halves desperate to not be separated in the mass scurry and battle to be as close to the front as possible, then standing firm and not letting anyone past, despite some poor 50-odd year old woman clearly needing to piss due to having half a shandy too much.

Broken Hands were the opening and only support for The Cult and they did not disappoint. Their sound is quite similar to early Kasabian and Verve, they also remind me of bands like Treason Kings and Fizzy Blood from Leeds with a sort of D.I.Y. rough and unpolished, grainy sound that the indie rock/grunge style does so well.

Their mellow tones and textures create a psychedelic atmosphere contrasted with their stage presence that is full of energy, you can see that the band really love what they do and are great at it.

There seemed to be a lot of hair flying around and the band really did wear the 90’s rock band look rather well, there was a lot of cooing and swooning going on around me from the women who were old enough to be their mothers, but rightly so, they were babes.

Playing an array of tracks from their EP Turbulence, the guys did an excellent job playing to a crowd of a sold out show who, in most cases, have little to no interest in the support bands. They do seem to win over the masses, through the charm and sheer energy they emit through their stage presence. Broken Hands are not strangers to large audiences, having played alongside Band Of Skulls, Rolling Stone and now with The Cult to add to their ever growing resume, I have high hopes that the band will go far.

“Who Sent You” was one of the stand out tracks from their set along with “Meteor” and “747”. I can only assume that their set helped them score plenty more fans. The only fault I could nit-pick at, was that their set was so short. It was almost a shame when they left the stage, but the audience were now suitably warmed up and were, in my opinion, left wanting more.

The break between the bands seemed to last forever, I assume it was because of Broken Hands set being short, in the end I nipped next door to Rescue Rooms for a pint because I didn’t fancy paying the extortionate City prices.

Rescue Rooms had an interesting open mic set up going on and I can only say going from a sold out show to a bar that had a lounge feel going on was quite bizarre. I took a seat outside and chatted to my flat mate who I took along to the show for her birthday, she too agreed that Broken Hands did put on a great show and we were both interested to see what The Cult were like live, after we faced the disappointment the other year in the Alt-Fest fiasco.

45 minutes later we return to Rock City to find The Cult on stage, which seemed a bit strange, the sound was so quiet you actually couldn’t hear it from the entrance. Normally it would be so loud your ears would be ringing for the next day or so.

We dropped a few jokes about The Cult looking out for their audience and that old ears need protecting and are sensitive and so on, but in all seriousness, it was so quiet, but despite that the sound and levels were amazing, the best I have heard in City for a long time. Kudos to the sound engineer!

I was unsure as to how much of the set we had missed, but it couldn’t have been more than a minute or two, we had the battle to get upstairs where there was plenty of space and if we stood on tip-toes could just about see the bassist and occasionally the top of vocalists, Ian Astbury’s head and one of his many tambourines. The first thing that I noticed was how much energy they all had, for a 53 year old Astbury was amazing! They definitely put some of the younger bands to shame.

Astbury proved to be an excellent frontman with stamina to be envious of, the band looked incredibly comfortable and old hands at playing to such an adoring audience. He engaged with everyone, cracking jokes about having to finish in time for everyone to get their last buses and how we should all get on their bus to Birmingham for tomorrows show, “it’s only down the road”. He is a true Yorkshire man who has the gift of humour and a quick tongue.

The band’s sound was tight and well-rehearsed and you could see the friendship between them, it was overwhelming to witness. Whilst I realise they were touring their tenth studio album, “Hidden City”, it was good to hear the classics in and amongst some of the later releases. You could see that the majority of the audience were there for the same reason, to hear the hits one more time.

Astbury’s voice almost sounded as if it had been lifted from the original recordings. The went through about an hour and a half worth of material, playing the likes of “Rain” ,“Wild Flower” and “Sweet Soul Sister” to name but a few. At two points during their set, there was some crowd surfing, which was amusing to bear-witness to. A man, easily in his 50’s who was balding and sporting a beer belly being passed over the head of hundreds of guys, all with a similar look going on, put a smile on everyone’s faces, even the security’s with their strict no crowd surfing policy.

There was so much emotion in the air by the encore, which was made up of “G O A T” and “Love Removal Machine”. The night seemed to end far too soon, as I am sure everyone there would agree.

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