The Hoosiers / Grace - 53 Degrees Preston - 4.10.07
Designer Magazine foolishly assumed that dry ice was a thing of the past, of effect that last surfaced on 80s Top Of The Pps yet its used tonight so frequently that it's a wonder the musicians can see themselves safely on stage. Thankfully the mist clears when Grace make their entrance. As they casually announce they're from London, the majority of the clearly inebriated crowd has such a hostile manner that the singer pleads "Hey, don't boo us, we love the north". The mood lightens and the tension slowly evaporates. Grace are a very commercial, radio friendly, melodic pop rock combo with just the right amount of emo angst to ingratiate themselves to the American market. "Wonderful" has the feel of an inferior Fall Out Boy yet you can't fault the drive and determination these plucky lads have. A spirited cover of "You've Got The Love" and a hit in waiting performance of the single "Stand Still" cue moments to savour, yet their defeat in a football match against The Hoosiers earlier on in the day keeps them humble throughout.
Before the Hoosiers arrive for their Preston debut its worth mentioning that amongst all the instruments and mic stands neatly set up are two TV sets with smiley faces covered in what can only be described as woolly mammoth yet type hair. This in itself would suggest that the Hoosiers aren't the kind of band who take themselves too seriously. sample T-shirt logo Hoosier Daddy, another case in point.
Their lead singer is the spitting image of a 60s Paul Simon while the young lady on percussion and keyboards adds just the right amount of glamour. The music may be infused with whimsy and eccentricity but there's an unexpected layer of depth best illustrated on the quirky ballad "Run Rabbit Run" which has a vocal very much in the spirit of one Thom Yorke. "Goodbye To Rain" has the sinister and seedy fairground organ sound and is also infused with a rock steady ska beat which delves into The Hoosiers varied and eclectic musical influences. There's a party vibe to the atmosphere on stage and in the crowd with audience participation a necessity on the raucous sing a long "Cops & Robbers". The Hoosiers aren't shy in promoting their forthcoming debut album "The Trick To Live" so its only fitting that "Worried About Ray" closes the set, the smash hit that catapulted Hoosiers into the mainstream
Nicholas Paul Godkin
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