Hadouken! - Rockness - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Hadouken! - Rockness

by Louise Harlow Rating: Release Date:

Taking on the baton in the Clash 'Sunday Best' arena from what bizarrely turned out to be one of the largest crowd-draws of the weekend - Kevin 'Scottish Comedian of the Year' Bridges - Hadouken! lay waste to any mid-afternoon torpor with an unrelenting juggernaut of a set.

The importance of engaging with your public is clearly not lost on James Smith, a front man who exercises a terrifyingly efficient ability to flip his crowd's sanity switch straight to apeshit. Although this is largely due to his insistent charm ("I want to see a wall of death right now. Don't make me come down there...") he helps himself by being one of the few artists to remember exactly where he is, and appeal directly to the national Scottish pride taken in maintaining crowd lunacy levels (slightly more intelligent than the England-baiting footie quips of The Strokes). The front third of the tent gets fairly jazzed up as Smith spits out the speed shriek of 'Turn the Lights Out' and 'Ugly', flanked by frenetic guitar lines, and underpinned by the coolly restrained Alice Spooner on synths.

A brief stage appearance is made by the cider-swigging, chav-molesting walking ASBO that is the Swagger Mouse from the 'M.A.D.' video. Cue some zealous on-stage dry-hump action and a circle pit incitement that is more threat than request: "Come on now, don't be shy... It's the washing machine inside that keeps us all warm!" Smith is as vehement in his mistrust of the music press as he is in his dedication to the crowd, and new single 'House is Falling' is preceded with "This isn't for the f**kin' journalists, the critics, this for all of you" (I am by now, of course, practically falling over myself to get to my post-set interview slot with Smith...). His rancour is understandable - for a band that chews up and spits out as many genres as Hadouken!, it must be irritating to have the one-dimensional labels of nu-rave (bleurgh) and grimecore laid at your door.

Call it whatever you want, but as we meander, dazed from the tent with the catalyst call of 'Mic Check' still ringing in our ears- "I wanna take your mind and soul/ Right to the core/ Right to the bone" - it's clear that the Hadouken! hook is on us...

I caught up with James Smith after their set in the Sunday Best arena for a quick jabber about Huey Lewis, beats and priapic mice...

Rockness photos by Louise Goodliffe and Dani Frisby.

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