Munich and Shields at The Hoxton Bar and Kitchen
Thursday night at the Hoxton Bar and Kitchen saw Smashing Blouse introduce two very unique, low-key bands deliver very entrancing performances – though they were both quite different.
The evening began with Brighton-based rockers Munich. There was a sombre but charming scene set for those who got there early. Replacing Born Blonde, who pulled out last minute, it wasn’t too much of shame because this cool little outfit can, sonically, deliver. The band’s sound worked well on the very small stage, had piano melodies dominating a lot of the songs – not to mention Muse-like, drawling vocals. One would guess that they are Radiohead influenced, Munich performed a heart-felt set, with the song Just Like You being about “wanting to be the people that were your heroes when you were young and then realising you should be yourself” – easily the happiest song in the set. Other songs had depressive vocals, a dramatic routine (the lead singer kneeling during an impressive, instrumental intermission), and end of the world guitar riffs. Other songs were more acoustic based yet never lost their power and musical integrity: the lead singer’s gripping voice had the crowd constantly engrossed.
Next on stage was Newcastle lads Shields, who gave the then bigger audience a visually fun and musically tight, intricate show. They began with a screen in the background playing a video of a cool, sock-puppet version of the band having various types of fun and banging on their instruments. The band that has what could be termed a slight ‘maths-rock’ sound may remind you of Foals. The performance was not as hard-hitting as that of Oxford collective – much more gentle. However, it fitted their sound perfectly last night. You might be reminded, ever so slightly of Sting when listening to their singing. With 2D 80s synths leading the sound from their single Mezzanine, they gifted the audience with smoothness and a great in-sync song that gives you something to look forward to when they release their EP next month. The bounciness of Spires had the crowd jumping – especially when they were told to come closer to the stage by the lead singer. Using two keyboards, laminated by blue UV bulbs, they wanted to shine, and they did – with great, tricky sounding guitar motifs and the two singers voices intertwining, Shields are certainly one to keep an eye out for.
Matt Di Salvo
Watch the video for Mezzanine here: