It’s always a pleasure when a live band are as good as their recordings and with Hush, the latest pop rock offering from Sheffield, the band are not only as polished and professional, but also as raucous and fun and insanely catchy as their music suggests. Off the back of their latest single “King and Queen” (reviewed here), you might expect an infectious, toe-tapping, pogoing, sweaty session of pure enjoyment and that, thankfully, is what the band deliver.
But first, onto their support acts, Civic Green and the Kaleidoscopes, who played to the eager crowd at Sheffield’s Record Junkee ahead of the main band who were launching the aforementioned single officially that night. First band Civic Green (a “loud as fuck indie rocknroll band from South Yorkshire” in their own words) evoked a hazy endless summer of jangly guitars and raspy smoky vocals whilst the Kaleidoscopes were perfect purveyors or bouncy and deliberately shambolic indie pop on numbers like “Rain or Shine” and rather endearing.
On to the main attraction… Hush formed out of the ashes of several earlier projects and feature key members and long-time bandmates Ben (vocals, guitar), Heather (guitar) and Cam (drums). They are latterly joined by bassist Dec who brings a louche air of mischief to the proceedings. The band perhaps self-deprecatingly call themselves a good old-fashioned pub rock band, and perhaps in their earlier incarnations as a pop and rock covers band, that was entirely true in the nature of the venues they played and the sets they entertained their audiences with, but now it seems to unfairly diminish what they are, which is rather bloody great. They still play a set of incredibly catchy, crowd-pleasing numbers, except this time, the songs are their own; they still play at a mixture of capacity venues and just love their music, something essential to get anywhere in the industry.
They’re an eclectic band in their influences and whilst their inspirations may be diverse, their sound is a union of great riffs and basslines, persuasive drum beats and really really catchy throaty-rock vocals from lead singer Ben. That he’s just a grinning, retiring Yorkshire lad who suddenly sings with the gritty rock vocals of a transAmerican power anthem supergroup is nothing short of amazing. They begin with the rabble-rousing number “FIGHT!” which is quite a mission statement and just one of the many fast-paced pop rock numbers in their arsenal. It’s impressive how many bands fail to nail their sound and churn out soundalike numbers to please audiences when a new, young band like Hush have mastered the formula which allows them to create catchy hit after hit without it ever being repetitive or samey. At times, they’re the pop punk bands of the nineties and noughties like Sum 41, Blink 182 and even Busted, at others, they soar even higher in their ambitions, sounding like Green Day, Queens of the Stone Age and Kings of Leon. Lead singer Ben might idolise the Stereophonics (see forthcoming interview), but Hush are never as cynical as that band became or as maudlin. “Made of Stone” is perhaps their closest moment with the gentle wistful guitars at the opening reminding me of “Dakota” but it soon moves into different, more uptempo but still downbeat territory, something the band seem to effortlessly excel in.
“What You’ve Done” is an epic mid-tempo rock ballad about nostalgia and regret featuring some soaring vocals and some insane guitar work from the deadpanning Heather who brilliantly looks like a flame-haired Game of Thrones character but plays guitar like Slash. “Memory Lane” is the band’s Foo Fighters epic anthem moment with hints of “Days Like These” at the start but then becoming a far more upbeat number evoking Third Eye Blind’s happy “Semi-Charmed Life” mashed with their own sad “Jumper”. It even has its own instrumental break which is inviting audiences to go mad and bounce around. “These Days” is the perfect set-closer but the band have barely started to make their exit when an encore is demanded and the classic track “Tequila Haze” (another fictional night out, they reveal) is how they bring the house down.
. We Won’t Back Down
. What You’ve Done Home
. Through the Storm
. Get Up!
. Made Of Stone
. Memory Lane
. King & Queen
. These Days
. Tequila Haze