The Hoosiers - Islington Academy
After every rise comes a fall, and it came far sooner than The Hoosiers must have expected. Following their double platinum selling number one album The Trick to Life in 2007, the follow up The Illusion of Safety limped to number ten in the charts before dropping like a stone. Not to be deterred, their third album The News From Nowhere is set for next March and tonight, at London’s Islington Academy, they preview the new material along with some old fan favourites.
After being greeted by a support band who delivers quite possibly the worst cover of The Rolling Stones’ classic ‘Gimme Shelter’ ever to be conceived, The Hoosiers arrived on stage with an extended version of their latest single ‘Somewhere In The Distance’. It’s often a trope that a band will return with a more “mature” sound, but it certainly sounds like they've gone away and grown up a bit. The set effortlessly draws from both first and second albums, with highlights coming in the form of a fantastic rendition of ‘A Sadness Runs Through Him’ and an eclectic, rocking version of ‘Made To Measure’ during which frontman Irwin Sparkes bounces around the stage like the natural showman he is.
Whilst, admittedly, things sometimes felt somewhat under rehearsed, the band’s talent shines through with Sparkes showing off his guitar skills all evening, including a solo at the end of ‘Cops and Robbers’ that would inspire many to head home to hone their Rocksmith skills. The new songs return to the more guitar-orientated sound of the first album, with encore opener ‘Handsome Girls & Pretty Boys’ sounding very promising, drummer Al Sharland sharing vocal duties with Sparkes.
Overall, despite the band being away for a number of years (with Sparkes also fronting the hotly tipped The Sea & I in the meantime) the band are clearly enjoying themselves and with the right push, the heady days of 2007 may well come again.