Hinds curate and headline mini festival Party Planet at EartH
Hinds-curated mini music festival Party Planet takes place at the new arts space EartH (Evolutionary Arts Hackney), with a lineup that consists mainly of post-punk and garage rock bands. Free snacks line the table next to the merchandise, though it would be nicer if the bar didn’t have a minimum transaction fee.
London-based Otzeki, cousins Mike Sharp and Joel Roberts, seem initially unassuming on stage; amongst the array of instruments, the pair themselves only play keyboard, MPC pad and electric guitar. Otzeki’s sound is a mix of well-crafted sampled beats alongside finely tuned guitar licks.
Sharp quietens the crowd by fluidly flowing into Pay the Tax from their recent debut album Binary Childhood. The vocalist’s infectious interaction with the crowd is unsurprising on discovering that Otzeki categorise themselves under performing arts on social media. Early on in the set, Sharp climbs down from the stage, gulps water and scatters the rest over the audience, some enjoying this, others walking away from the front. During Are You for Real? the singer motions for everyone to hunch down, directly looking into the eyes of individuals, making it a personal gig of sorts. Their performance fills the spectator with anticipation and contains an edginess that is rare in most current concerts. Shimmering guitar riffs shine in the elongated Already Dead, and the set ends with the “short and sweet” dance track Foreign Love.
When there are only two artists on stage, it raises the question, how can a performance be captivating and hold the venue’s attention? Otzeki prove there is still hope for today’s electronic musicians, establishing themselves as an exciting duo on the bill of growing bands in this genre. Moreover, it would have fared better if they were on stage towards the end of the festival, their dark and brooding bass-beats already making people dance, though it was only 5pm.
Sports Team garner a few more fans, but EartH is still fairly empty. The standard instrumental lineup of an alternative act – electric and bass guitars, drums, keyboard – also make up this group. Dressed as an athletics team in sports outfits, the band’s music is a racket of noise, if anything, and their aesthetic the most interesting element. Alex Rice’s raw vocals are drowned in sound, making them out of tune, the acoustics are unbalanced and delivered too loud. Unfortunately Sports Team cannot be saved by good intentions: the shrill, derivative rock is not anything we haven’t heard before.
North London acoustic indie group Girl Ray are barely memorable in hindsight. Producing a 70s ballad style, the trio sound like a cross between American musician Waxahatchee with vocals echoing Karen O. Though Girl Ray sound considerably better than Sports Team, this is not enough to stand them in good stead. Their lo-fi style is, nevertheless, a breath of fresh air at Party Planet.
A dramatic Wild West intro presents headlining curators Hinds on stage. The Madrid band are in high spirits, speaking to their fans in between songs. Soberland is an incomprehensible shriek-fest, but at this point of the evening EartH is a dampened, booze-filled space, and most people have a smile on their faces. The girls explore beach vibes akin to the 60s psychedelic era with the carefree guitar melodies of Chili Town, the band shouting “Hello Party Planet”, requesting lighting to always be focused on them for the duration. Hinds clearly enjoy performing – they dance side by side, facing right then left simultaneously during their cover of Kevin Ayers’s Caribbean Moon – but their set is interrupted by amplifier feedback. Musically, the four-piece have it covered, but the vocals are rendered to screeches – apparently a characteristic for garage rock. An under-par performance from the main act; though some happily inebriated fans crowd-surf, several people leave during the set – actions speak louder than words.
To put it bluntly, Otzeki were the ruling band in the festival’s lineup, bringing something different to the stage, their performance an energising experience. Though EartH is a venue that strives to prioritise “artists, individuals and groups who attempt to innovate, progress and collaborate their craft to push creativity forwards”, tonight’s festival didn’t manage to match that promise – hopefully Hinds’ next curated festival will do it.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit Hinds’ website here.
Watch the video for the Chili Town here: