First up were the band Lyger [6/10], a swaggering 3 piece rock band from London with some very grunge punk overtones which have recently been featured on the BBC’s London Introducing. The dark smoke-filled room slowly filled with eerie orchestral music and chorale chanting while the band stood still as statues, and though the audience they opened to was small, they then proceeded to fill the Hare & Hounds with a wall of sound akin to an industrial sledgehammer smashing through a wall. I’d been downstairs while they were sound checking and they literally made the whole venue reverberate – the drummer in particular was grinning throughout the set as he gleefully crashed his way around the kit. The lead singer was a bit of a ringer for Jack White, and though he didn’t say much between songs, he made up for it with powerful vocals, especially on their song ‘Stroke’.
The next support were Turbogeist [7/10], another London-based band with a charismatic poofy-haired guitarist that made me think a young Robert Smith was in the room. They describe their style as “weirdo punk sounds meet heavy alternative rock” which is really quite accurate as one of their catchiest songs ‘Alien’ is about an interspecies relationship with an alien princess. Standard. The rest of their set was full of fast-paced punk songs which got the crowd jumping and – in one man’s case – windmilling furiously. If you’re a fan of hyperactive guitars and weird lyrics, this is the band for you.
Finally, the band everyone had come to see (and who had been partying in the audience) took the stage – Radkey [9/10].
A trio of brothers from Missouri, USA, these guys are home-schooled, self-taught, teenage musicians, and are downright prodigies.
They fuse hardcore, punk and grunge, and even have some elements of metal – they recently played SXSW and Download, and they absolutely killed it tonight. The band cite Misfits and the Ramones as among their main influences, and you can certainly hear this in the deep crooning voices of vocalists Dee and Isaiah that brilliantly compliment face-melting guitar solos and Solomon’s wickedly fast punk drumming.
Radkey have a remarkable stage presence, and the venue was crammed with people head-banging and generally having a great time. Despite having only 2 short EPs (Devil Fruit and Cat & Mouse – well worth a listen), this band have achieved great things in a short space of time, and are definitely fast-rising young stars in the world of punk. If you missed them in Birmingham, their UK tour is hitting most major cities in the next couple of weeks.
Check out our exclusive interview with them before their headline performance.
Review & Interview by Anna Lim and photos by Andy Hughes.