This Happy Breed / Kids Love Lies / At The Zoo
The Hare and Hounds
17th March 2010
At The Zoo are staring at the expanse of empty floor at their feet- “Welcome to the friends and family gig!”. No need to worry lads, because after your cheeky, freshened up take on tightly blended ska/punk and indie is blasted at our ears we’re wishing we were part of the Zoo family. Or at least one of their skanking, bendy-legged pals with a straw hat stuck to our heads.
At The Zoo are relentless and melodic, with a grit throat vocalist who makes us sorry for the sods that should be in the glitter ball floor mist having a proper dance.
Vans break down a lot on tour. Sometimes this means all the music sits trapped behind their double doors whilst you’re left tapping your feet in beer puddles. No such fears showed on the faces of Kids Love Lies who, after some travel drama, slip into the venue to start their set just before the sweat starts to settle on the promoter’s brow. But there is no sense that this is a band accustomed to arriving quietly.
Front woman Ellen pulls us into a riot girrrl war with her soaring yelp vocals that contain a pure London accent sitting amongst the high inflections. As her arms beckon and thrust violently against air, the band behind her produce punk with a rakish edge that reminds us it’s OK to have clever guitars and work-hard bass rhythms layered with soaring vocal pop.
The stand out tracks tonight include an 800mph version of ‘Black and Gold’, forthcoming single ‘Stars’ and fun packed hair shaker ‘Count in My Head’. We are hooked and hypnotised as their energy gets into our eyeballs-this is a band to catch before they’re showing up at venues in a tourbus, not a transit.
This Happy Breed are last on tonight and their charming onstage banter has us in naughty fits. They are certainly capable of complexity with their melodic, multi layered indie rock. But they also do a good line in farcical but funny when forced to abandon one track midway through. Not put off, they launch into more haywire alternative guitar musings about the state of Britain, accompanied by the many impressive shapes guitarist Alex’s leg-stilts are capable of warping into.
This band could be a little tighter, but hey, it’s often good not to take everything in life too seriously. This Happy Breed leave us with a last wry joke: “We all know we’d be signed by now if Stuart was a girl!” and with that, they bend back over their guitars and send us home with grins on our cheeks and rhythm in our ears.