Hit The Lights

support Kill Hannah + Kids In Glass Houses + Beat Union
author DY date 21/04/07 venue Islington Academy, London, UK

The Give It A Name Introduces… tour was created to showcase some of the up and coming bands that will appear across the three day Give It A Name festival weekend, whilst also ensuring a significant crowd is drawn with the addition of a more popular headline act, this year being the Ohio pop-punkers Hit The Lights, who I was more than willing to pay the £4 (yes £4) ticket price to go and see. Looking forward to hearing some talented young bands win me over, I went along to the Academy with optimism.

Engineering works on the tube (public transport fails me again) left me having to take a bus to the venue which meant missing the whole of the first band Beat Union’s set and the majority of Kids In Glass Houses. I was pretty ticked off at missing the opening of the latter’s set, but not so cut up about missing the prior’s (if you’ve read my review of Hit The Lights in January you’ll understand :p).

What I can remember of Kids In Glass Houses was that they finished with the track “Me, Me, Me” and that I was pretty impressed by what I heard, although I was later informed that it was their best song of the night.

Kill Hannah

Kill Hannah took to the stage to remarkable support from the crowd and launched into their thirty-minute electronica filled set. Now the first mistake I made was to watch this band with my eyes open, because I immediately became not only annoyed, but frankly quite offended at just how ridiculously they presented themselves. I felt as though my eyes were being attacked. This set me up for a battle to remain open minded whilst at the same time trying to understand why a band feels they need to sport women's clothing, hairstyles and make-up on stage at a rock concert.

Keen not to discriminate against a band who is clearly gender challenged, I set about reviewing the music. The Chicago quartet is without doubt heavily influenced by Placebo in their sound, especially the vocalist, but combine it with pounding synthesised beats that did a great job in getting the crowd off their feet. Vocalist/guitarist Mat Devine signalled for the crowd to get moving by proclaiming halfway through the set “I wanna turn this place into a dance class”, with notable success. For me the standout aspect of the band was their drummer (who for the record is only their live drummer, and purely coincidentally didn’t look like a muppet either) who hit some innovative beats despite being drowned out towards the end of the set by the electronic beats, which were another highlight for me. The band managed to achieve a sound 3x larger than the walls of the 800 Capacity Academy would allow, partly through having three guitarists even though one of them, Jonathan Radtke appeared more concerned with playing with his hair than playing with his guitar.

Overall, they put on an entertaining show and certainly had the crowd’s support. If tonight is anything to go by, they will have a great experience playing at the Give It A Name festival this weekend. Not really to my taste, but grading this objectively they deserve a


Hit The Lights

We were treated to some great PA music during the interval before Hit The Lights took to the stage, with The Fresh Prince of Bell Air TV show theme, Lit's "My Own Worst Enemy", New Found Glory's "My Friends Over You" and Blink 182's "Josie" among the better ones. To my distress, it was Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” which incited the biggest sing-along…oh dear.

The headliners came on stage and immediately got the whole audience bouncing to the sound of "These Back Are Made For Stabbing”, not stopping to even breathe before launching straight into "Three Oh Nine". As with the two previous Hit The Lights gigs I've had the pleasure of attending, the five-piece were full of life and well up for an energetic performance. Guitarist Omar Zehery encouraged the crowd to go all out crazy during "Speakers Blown" and “The Call Out” which they, including yours truly did gladly and had a damn good time in the process.

A few songs later the band suffered from some technical difficulties with the guitars so they decided to play the acoustic bonus track from their full length album. After the song, vocalist Colin Ross invited the crowd to come hang out with them once the show was done and made an announcement that the band will be back for a full headlining tour in October, which was met with celebration from the crowd.

Given that the tour was designed for showcasing the smaller bands, Hit The Lights were given only half an hour to play, as Ross explained before asking if their choice of two final songs, "Save Your Breath" and "Bodybag" were ok. The answer was a resounding yes and the Academy went nuts as the band closed the show leaving not a single face without a smile or a single t-shirt without desperate need for a wash. As I walked out the venue to let the cool air dry me off, I reflected over another job well done by the band and looked forward to the October tour (on which we are promised at least an hour long set).


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