HOT WAX + THE JACKDAW + ORDALI – THE PRINCE ALBERT, BRIGHTON 13.9.22
Seeing a large crowd for a concert on a school night warms the shells of my little concert heart. Everyone in the scene knows how difficult it is for the DIY bands they champion to fit music into a day job at the big Tescos, so it’s wonderful to see that commitment coming back – if anyone ‘one deserves this kind of response, it’s hot wax. The Hastings-based trio are so clearly dedicated to their craft of crafting swirling little rock tunes that, on their second Brighton headline, they draw a packed crowd.
Before arriving at the headliners, the local support came to heat things up on a chilly September evening, first from Ordali which is pronounced “or-dar-lee”.
Their front row friends and early fans gave it their all in the (admittedly very forced) pit which definitely lit a spark in the eyes of the performers themselves, seeming to remind them that the crowd had their backs to them.
The singer’s voice was an absolute treat, gritty and evocative from the first track. “Paralysing Need” to the detachable track to the appropriate title ‘Quick Song’. However, he sometimes felt like he was abandoned by the rest of his group. All of the members clearly have their own individual influences, but this has led to a lack of identity from the whole band and onstage jitters, making them feel more like a house band coming together instead of a cohesive outfit. .
“I do not remember”
“Heart to Heart”
“And I’m Lost”
“Everything to please”
“Something is wrong”
According to their poster, you can see them in action when they headline the Green door store for a free show on Monday, September 26.
jackdaw, however, really impressed me. I don’t know what I expected of them after the alt-rock-y vibes of Ordali, but they certainly weren’t a delightfully dramatic post-punk band with the screaming best frontman this side of Monakis.
I’m not complaining, though; in fact, their set was one of the nicest surprises I’ve seen at a gig in quite a while. songs like “I don’t understand” and their coverage ‘Rockefeller Skank’ exuded the energy of lively classic punk without being too overwhelming.
Brighton punk bands are notoriously a bit wild when stomping on stage, and don’t get me wrong, I love it, but this band has definitely mastered the art of dramatic freeze frame.
It’s quite the type of music you’ll listen to with your hands behind your back, your badge-covered corduroy cap tucked firmly over your head.
“I don’t understand”
‘Again and again’
By the time we got to our headliners, the dramatic tone was firmly established. The smoky atmosphere (it’s Brighton, after all, you can’t always help it) proved to be perfectly suited to the moody psych-rock riffs offered by hot wax.
Rave reviews online say the Hastings-based trio have strong roots in teenage angst, but unknowingly you’d think of them as much older, wiser performers.
Like the band before them, they didn’t need to be sweaty to grab the attention of the room. There was a sort of slacker, late-90s punk sheen to a few of their tracks that allowed them to slow down the tempo and just rest on their thrones of effortless rock elegance.
‘What’s that sound’ comes to mind as an example, with a disco revival pedal effect that pairs beautifully with singer Tallulah’s cool drawl.
As a new listener, their sound wasn’t as heavy as I expected based on the more punky billings they’ve been a part of. Even songs like ‘Tear it out’, with its aggressive name and lyrics of romantic co-dependency, tended slowly and moodily with enough room for the band to build original textures with their pedalboards.
When the band screams, however, there’s a venomous goodness to their cutting vocal delivery. Tallulah could be heard scolding with justified malice over ‘Barbie (not yours)’, one of their best-known tracks for its tongue-in-cheek lyrics about objectification in modern times.
Not all psych-rock songs for getting high in Boomtown are always my thing, but the genius of HotWax’s set was their refusal to conform to just one specific subgenre.
‘Keep Coming Back’
‘What’s that sound’
“When We’re Dead”
‘Barbie (Not Yours)’
‘Tear it off’