Kicking off the evening was Sweat, who were on the last throws of their UK tour, supporting various bands, such as the Hooton Tennis Club. Playing to a half-full Academy, the boys from Sweat did not take long to get into it and soon won over the crowd with their unique and elegant blend of seductive synth-heavy disco pop tunes and rock riffs. Most people in the audience had never heard of Sweat before but soon realised that they were witnessing a band climbing the ladder of musical success. Many years of hard work, refining their sound, clearly paid off and Sweat produced a wonderfully succinct set of lo-fi elegance.
Singer and frontman Dante Traynor occasionally had a joke with the audience highlighting the jovial and relaxed nature of their set. It was this positive energy and honest sound that endeared Sweat to the band, who are steadily building up a dedicated fan base. Reminiscent of 80’s disco pop the arpeggiated reverbed chords of songs such as Acid Rainbow, Sweat created a very sensual sound that was impossible not to dance to. The audience that made it to the venue early were truly treated to a musical spectacle of the highest order.
Before we knew it, Sweat’s set was over and Willie J Healey was on stage with his band perform as a special blend of indie-folk mixed with self-named rock’n’stroll. Healey started his set to a full Academy. With gigs going on in all three Academy venues, it is great to see that so many people turned out to listen to the warm up acts – why wouldn’t you?
Enchanted by Healey’s clean sound the crowd was soon dancing along to his festival pop rock tunes. With the front rows of the audience singing along to all songs, many people were clearly here to see Healey. Compared to Sweat’s performance, however, Healey lacked in experience and there was a lack of distinct voice that would make him easily distinguishable. This is something that this very talented and hard-working artist will surely develop with time. However, unlike a lot of Sweat’s tunes, Healey’s songs are easy to listen to and to digest. Both bands are certainly ones to watch out for in the future.
With Hot Chocolate’s You Sexy Thing pumping from the house system, the four young girls from Spain made their way onto the stage. It was this youthful and saucy attitude that has propelled Hinds to be the music media’s darlings that they are. With an excited and slightly nervous voice, singer Carlotta Cosials started the set in the same way as they had done in Reading earlier this year “Hello! We’re Hinds from a place called Madrid, in Spain. Do you know Spain?”
With their unique, yet sometimes a little immature, but accomplished sound it is easy to understand how Hinds have built up a dedicated following in such a short time. Not the strongest or most creative musicians, Hinds clearly rely on a strong backing of the industrial music machine of songwriters, producers, marketers, and media companies. What they lack in musical ability, they more than make up for in enthusiasm and playfulness.
There is little that can be said about Hinds’ performance on the evening. It was a well-rehearsed show from four young women from Madrid for the adoring fans that came to see them that night. The choice of songs was sometimes a little dubious, ending the show with two slow and rather repetitive songs.
Looking around the highly excited crowd of screaming fans, I started to wonder if I was getting old and just didn’t get the Zeitgeist anymore. Surely, one should rejoice in seeing four young women on stage and hundreds of people in the audience enjoy themselves thoroughly. Personally, I just didn’t get it.