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Hockey/Epic 26 – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh

Live music is a visual as well audio experience. Indeed, it was the tension between balancing the two elements which nearly did for the Stones in the 80s, with Keef perturbed at what he felt was Jagger’s over-reliance on elaborate props. The two must work in harmony or your brain can’t properly process what is going on. This is the dilemma at tonight’s gig; what to do when your ears and eyes are vehemently disagreeing? Can you enjoy a gig where you like what you are hearing but hate what you are seeing?

This isn’t a problem with Epic 26. Opening with the proper attitude – we’re going to blow the main act off the f*cking stage – they fuse thudding electro beats with hook-laden songs and a frenetic energy which is really rather endearing. The songs steer clear of falling into the trap of trying to merely ape the Klaxons and instead reveal a strong pop sensibility whilst still encouraging you to get off your tits and dance. A cover of Everything But the Gir’s ‘Missing’ is interesting, especially given how limited the original is. Blasting through a terrifically energised 40 minute state, they’ve left the stage with more friends than when they started. Mission accomplished.

Hockey, then. The wilful cool of Hockey annoyed when they first emerged last year, and nothing has happened to change them since. They are just so artfully cool, like they read a book from Urban Outfitters and aped all the ideas. There are beadrs, moustaches, a feather earring. I mean, a feather-earring. The bassist wears a Radiohead t-shirt, clearly the last word in alt.cool in Oregon but about fifteen years out of date in the UK. The guitarist strums like Wilko Johnson, only so obviously trying to do so he just looks desperate. They are hugely, massively punchable.

But the music…well, despite all of the above, they sound like Asia. No, really. This is a great American band who appear to have an FM radio straight from 1982. ‘Song Away’ is like a hipster Dylan. ‘Eye of the Storm’ sounds like Toto. It’s great, it’s really great.

But for Hockey to actually do anything, they’ve got to be a little less annoying. It’s just too much for a British audience. Hockey are so full of potential it hurts, but until they concentrate less on looking like a band and more on actually being one, it is going to remain untapped.

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One Response

  1. Cunts. FACT.

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