When a copy of The Hedrons' latest single landed on my desk I took one look at it and summoned up all my pig headed male-chauvinistic misogyny to pass it off as another pretty all-girl setup perfect for promoters to push in the direction of a largely male fan base. And it would, obviously, be completely sh*te.
On one or two extremely rare occasions I’ve been proven wrong, and tonight at Glasgow King Tut’s, the final leg of The Hedrons' mammoth 24 date UK tour, I was proven totally wrong….quite spectacularly in fact.
I was expecting to just wander into King Tut’s tonight, buy tickets on the door, or get them cheap from a tout – but the show was completely sold out, and had been for some time. I was as confused as a chav with a Suduku puzzle with just one number missing. There could be a reason why The Hedrons had sold out tonight’s gig so fast, but then again it was probably just because this was their homecoming gig, and Scottish fans support their own with the type of blind sighted devotion second only to suicide bombers and nudists. I was wrong again, (in actual fact this was the third time The Hedrons had sold out King Tuts) and there was definitely a communal buzz about the venue tonight, even before the support act took to the stage.
With solos almost as long as their hair, Rosehill Drive are vintage 70’s hyperbolic rockers, that engage in 10 minute long guitar laden jam sessions. While talent is clearly something that Rosehill Drive doesn’t need to worry about, their song writing expertise has fallen by the wayside, and more often that not the band delve into a completely unnecessary self indulgent form of fret masturbation.
This is made all the more unbearable by guitarist Daniel Sproul’s compulsive need to mix his exhaustive scale techniques with their own corresponding facial expressions. Technically, its brilliant stuff and the band can’t be faulted on technique, improvisation, or how they work as a unit, and the crowd seemed to love the retrospective Paige style solos. Especially on the brilliant ‘Cool Cody’, which seems to borrow solos from Oasis’ ‘Fuckin in the Bushes and The Beatles’ ’While My Guitar Gently Weeps’. Yet, it all seems just a little dated and centred on just how high you can bend that upper e string.
Excited chants for The Hedrons to come on had already started and the girls had been tuning their own instruments before doing the whole walk off, walk back on thing. I was readying myself for another dose of cringe worthy Hole covers, and songs about boys being dumb when The Hedrons ripped open their performance with the type of stage presence you can only get with a bucket packed full of er...testosterone!?!
The Scottish four piece delivered each tune from their recently released album ‘One More Won’t Kill Us’ with a mountain of energy and my pathetic misconceptions of another Hole ripp-off (‘The Donnas’ anybody?) were quickly put to shame.
Vigorous punk rock is probably the easiest way to categorise The Hedrons, and this style allows the group to prevent the tempo of the gig dropping anywhere beneath a harried adrenaline-fuelled party.
Forgive me for gender stereotyping here but you really don’t associate music of this genre, delivered in this style, with this much enthusiasm, to be done by anyone other than bearded, hairy, unwashed, leather clad men. But not only do The Hedrons do this just as well as any of their male counterparts, they do it even better.
There didn’t seem to be any problems for new band member Gill either, who replaced their original bassist Chi, after a car crash ruled her out of the next tour. It’s a shame that Chi’s no longer part of the band, but the group seem to have recovered amicably and if it has affected their live performance in anyway it certainly doesn’t show.
The Hedrons’ music never deviates too far from the 3 minute pop bubblegum anthems that occasionally cross genres with punk music, and on the first listen there’s not too much to differentiate The Hedron’s with last season’s all girl pop/punk crossover The Faders, especially on first single ‘Be My Friend’. However, there’s simply no denying how brilliant the band are live, and watching lead singer Tippi bound across stage with unhindered fervour is exhausting in itself.
There is a certain garage rock feel to The Hedrons that lets them teeter on the edge of the mainstream/indie divide. The group’s latest release ‘Heatseaker’ takes on a whole new form when played live, it’s raw and untamed and packs far more punch than the overly produced single version.
The set included The Hedrons’ own take on The Clash’s ‘Brand New Cadillac’, which went down just as well – if not better than most of their own material. Tippi held the crowd in the palm of her hand throughout the entire set, wielding her guitar one moment, on her knees the next and then stage diving into the crowd while still belting out her vocals.
It was the perfect finale to The Hedrons’ tour, and was fantastic to watch. In an industry dominated by male protagonists it seems a touch ironic that leading the way in live performers is an all girl punk rock band. But it’s a refreshing change, and if The Hedrons are the first step in readdressing the balance of the sexes, then we can be expecting a lot more high calibre performances like tonight.
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article by: Scott Johnson
photos by: Scott Johnson
| published: 12/02/2007 13:46|