Average Sex @ Hare & Hounds 25th February 2018

Average Sex @  Hare & Hounds 25th February 2018Average Sex @  Hare & Hounds 25th February 2018Average Sex @  Hare & Hounds 25th February 2018Average Sex @  Hare & Hounds 25th February 2018Average Sex @  Hare & Hounds 25th February 2018Average Sex @  Hare & Hounds 25th February 2018Average Sex @  Hare & Hounds 25th February 2018Average Sex @  Hare & Hounds 25th February 2018Average Sex @  Hare & Hounds 25th February 2018Average Sex @  Hare & Hounds 25th February 2018Average Sex @  Hare & Hounds 25th February 2018

Fresh from an extensive tour supporting The Charlatans and releasing their debut ‘Ice Cream’ EP through frontman Tim Burgess’s O Genesis record label, London-based five-piece Average Sex are at Birmingham’s Hare & Hounds tonight for their first headline show outside of the capital. Kicking off with the short and simple Ramones-esque EP track ‘Hey Boy’, the band’s infectious enthusiasm and energy quickly fills the room and second track ‘Sociopath’ is a bouncy bubblegum-punk number with a catchy guitar line that brings to mind The Primitives at their poppiest.

After a brief pause for singer Laetitia Bocquet to remove the choker from around her neck (“I’m being choked by my choker – who’d have thought?”) follows the lighter love song ‘Come Over’ which is quickly juxtaposed against the brash, catchy ‘You Suck’ – a bitter attack on a cheating ex which appears to take cues from bands at the punkier side of the 90’s Britpop spectrum such as Elastica, whilst EP title track ‘Ice Cream’ is a prime example of just how effective three chords and a catchy hook can be. Laetitia’s light French accent occasionally comes through when she’s singing which gives a little bit of unique character to the songs as well.

All of the band members are clearly on the same wavelength and the next few tracks allow guitarists Sam and Louise to be a bit more adventurous, particularly with the New Wave-styled ‘Love Me, Ring Me’ and fast-paced ‘Kiss Again’. EP tracks ‘Ugly Strangers’ and ‘We’re Done’ show off the band’s pop side before set-closer ‘Don’t Wait’ merges all of the aspects of their sound into a furious but fun ending featuring some impressive work from drummer Finn.

Average? Not at all, this band are much better than average tonight.

5-piece garage-rock band The Hungry Ghosts provide a very strong supporting set which sees frontman Joe Josephs leading the charge through an unpredictable and exciting journey. Beginning with the bluesy swagger of 2017 single ‘Amerika’ the band then head in an altogether heavier direction along with psychedelic synths, pitching them somewhere alongside Turbowolf with set highlight ‘Promised Land’ and single ‘Lazaro’ also recalling the off-kilter post-punk of The Fall in places, ending in a wild guitar solo. ‘Hummingbird’ features dark, claustrophobic guitars and the downbeat ‘Super King King’ ends with Joe slowly caressing his microphone stand and screaming, whilst the final song is a frantic psychobilly number which closes in a massive swathe of feedback.

Opening the show is Miles Cocker (Youth Man/Adore/Horrorshow) with a solo acoustic set made up of dark, tense bluesy songs that would easily sound at home played in a smoky whiskey bar somewhere, telling tales of “deals with the devil” and announcing “what’s the point in happy songs?” with deadpan delivery. Consulting his setlist he ponders “what does ‘River’ mean? Do I have a song about a river?” and even explains away one track as “the one and only song I have about diarrhoea – that was a tough weekend…” Vocally impressive, his short set does a fine job of getting the show started and rounds off tonight’s excellent bill nicely.

Reviewer: Ian Paget
Photographer: Ian Dunn

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