I can’t say Hot Damn! is the place I would normally choose to spend a Thursday night. I don’t spend hours on my hair, I don’t have any tattoos or piercings, I don’t like bands like AFI and I don’t wear eyeliner. I couldn’t stick out more if I tried! But when I heard UK’s Noxshi were playing, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to head in and experience the night.
When I entered Spectrum (which was about half full despite having to deal with a douchebag bouncer telling me it was over capacity and that it didn’t matter that I was on the guestlist… /rant) I was greeted to three-piece The Initiation (formerly My Name 4 Your Name, pictured below).
At first, this band came across as yet another pale imitation (no pun intended) of the Fall Out Boys of the world. But when I actually gave them a chance, they showed themselves off as a band in a class of their own. Davy B shows terrific potential as the band’s frontman and lead guitarist – Dansy on backing vocals and guitar proved a talent (and is gorgeous to boot), and DJ is a great drummer.
Sure, they aren’t exactly classified in the genre of music I normally go out of my way to experience – but I personally wouldn’t classify them in that genre of music. They’re just great musicians making some rock and roll that they can truly be proud of. But that’s not to say they’re the sort of band that takes it too seriously – “You Should Be Medicated!”, for starters, was a highlight of the set, and the final track of the night proved to be an impressive jam that left this reviewer eating his initial words. Go get ‘em guys.
Noxshi (pictured above) state on their website “Noxshi make music designed to be infectious on the level of the collective harmonic brainframe” – and while I originally thought such a statement was too self indulgent, I have a feeling they’ve borrowed that from a critic – because it’s pretty spot on to describing their sound.
All the way from the UK, the band are currently in the country supporting Yusef Islam (formerly Cat Stevens). When you hear their music, you may ask yourself – what what what!? But if you discover that the lead singer of this band, Yoriyos, is actually Yusef’s son, then you‘ll understand why they’ve been paired up for the local tour.
Tonight at the Spectrum, their only headlining show in Sydney, the
band were free of the stadium vibe, ready to let loose and play a few
songs for an unfamiliar but intimate crowd. They opened up their set with a stellar instrumental, bordering on the ambient, but too in your face to be ignored. Yoriyos wore a gas mask and deployed his mad Theremin skills, as the rest of the five-piece jammed away on their respective instruments, with skill and style. Meanwhile, their attire saw them wearing women’s dresses, masks and white one pieces. Quite the varied ensemble to say the least!
This wasn’t the style to be heard throughout, however, as distorted vocals and a harder edge were introduced in the second song. Maracas also debuted at this time, replacing Yoriyos’ Theremin (which, thankfully, returned a bit later on). He himself admitted things were going to “be a bit hectic” when he later pulled out the megaphone, and indeed, shit did go a little crazy. In addition to the Theremin and maracas, Yoriyos could be seen creating a variety of sound effects throughout – spending part of the set on the floor in front of effect pedals, as he held his microphone in his mouth, or hit it against the drum kit. This resulted in quite a unique sound from the five piece.
Instrumentally, this band is superb. They’re a bit flat on the crowd
interaction part, but considering that was their second gig of the
night, off the back of a pretty full on Australian tour, I can’t blame them. And it certainly didn’t take anything away from the
performance – which was tight, original and at times surprising. If you
like rock music that’s big on the guitar (and Theremin), taking things to a slightly
harder edge without them feeling them need to scream their faces off inaudibly – then
this is definitely a band for you.
Their set ended with a fantastic track employing the
megaphone throughout. It wasn’t quite their heaviest number, but it was
certainly their most energetic, and I really left the set with a bit of
a buzz. Although maybe that was just the ringing in my ears.
Leaving Hot Damn! I couldn’t have felt more satisfied by the two bands I experienced – each of them took common expectations of their respective genres and threw them on their head, creating something original and exciting in the process – especially in the case of Noxshi. But does this mean I’ll be seen at Hot Damn! again next week? Well, probably not. But at least now I get what all the fuss is about!
All Photos by Larry Heath