With Hidden Charms riding the crest of a wave, Getintothis’ Howard Doupé heads down to The Magnet to suss out what this London psychedelic outfit are all about.
As far as elevated bands go Hidden Charms fit the latest wave. Grabbing the attention of no other than legendary Kinks‘ producer, Shel Talmy and much loved by BBC 6Music. With a number of explosive and immediate singles under their belt, anticipation runs high on a Wednesday night.
Bribes kicked off the night with a thunderous opener followed by tunes oozing classic rock power riffs. Harmonies like only a Liverpool band can do with an interesting blend of Royal Blood style riffs. Demanding of the crowd to get with them and by then end of the set applause was rapturous.
One minute Soundgarden, the next Siamese Dream-era Smashing Pumpkins. With their debut single only months away they ended the set with She Sings Blues, which firmly got the crowd believing that this hard-edged trio rides the wave perfectly of those who like their melodies gritty as their rock dirty.
Main support for the tour, The Bay Rays took a few songs to find their step but once the light was found, an injection of nervous energy erupted. Vocals soared on the wave of punchy noise like a train heading for the end of the line with no intention of braking, and why the hell would it when they sound like this?
Jumping from one classic guitar sound of the last three decades, set highlight Those Weekend Warriors nestled in the ears like a well-cherished personal favourite, with a bass drum on a direct mission to reach right down and hammer on your own ear drum.
Time for Hidden Charms – expanded into a five-piece for the full live onslaught. Swaggering onstage, nonchalant indie cool a-plenty with their 60s shirts and donning hats, they make no bones about their bluesy roots and rose-tinted love for all things past. even lead singer Vincent Davies is bold enough to wear a T-Bird inspired leather jacket!
Creeping up on an expectant audience, a Doors heavy blusey opening track knows exactly how to draw them in. Hypnotic lines that swirl and elevate you into their world. With the love in the room the crowd hardly needed leading. Plenty of enthusiastic fans get moving to Long Way Down. Sharp key changes are followed by ventures into the crowd by more than one band member. They know how to indulge the crowd to a proper rock n roll show.
The revelation that that they played their very first gig here was met with cheers, and genuine appreciation was mutual. Following tune I Just Wanna Be Left Alone kept the crowd pumped with a rolling juggernaut crescendo, the rhythm section firmly making their presence felt.
After a crowd chant, birthday boy Ranald MacDonald stepped up to the mike to perfectly instigate a Super Fly funk groove flow. At the crucial point, the guitar interjects reminding everyone exactly what the Hidden Charms beast thrives on – gutsy, fuzzed up psychedelia.
Beautifully crafted Harder From Here dragged everyone to the Mojave Desert with the sun blazing down. Could this soundtrack any shootout from Westworld and still leave a tune ringing out on the piano by the door of the saloon.
I Don’t Mind falls into an epic wig-out with bird masks in tow, upping the gig into a new frenzied level. Could the noise be any louder from a crowd determined to squeeze every last drop of enjoyment from the performance served to them. Cue the finalé: a stage invasion.
Here’s a band displaying musical depth, Beefheart-nodding, original morphing of intricate sounds firmly on the ascent. Catch them before they return playing dance-halls your granny’s familiar with.
Mad one last night in Liverpool… the Toon tonight.. Think Tank. Tickets at https://www.musicglue.com/hidden-charms
Posted by Hidden Charms on Thursday, 9 February 2017
Photos by Getintothis’ Tom Adam.