Hockey – The Cockpit, Leeds

Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Hockey are one of the latest buzz bands to hit these shores. Despite forming only two years ago they already have major label backing on both sides of the Atlantic and debut album, Mind Chaos, is released on 28th September. Gig goers can pre-empt that date by picking up the vinyl version at any one of their shows.

Tonight, before we get to the main event we have two very different support acts to get through. First up is Daestro, a synth-pop, one-man band from Detroit. He normally plays with a backing band but his solo act was entertaining with catchy tunes, stories about his grandmother and appalling joke telling. Worthy of further investigation.

Next are Little Comets from Newcastle who, despite being highly touted and having signed to Columbia records, seem little more than a sub-Arctic Monkeys jangly guitar band with horribly insipid songs that did nothing to warrant anything other than a cursory glance.

Then we come to Hockey who bound on stage with great enthusiasm and launch in to ‘Work’, a joyous funk-rock song with Strokes-like vocals and a bouncy performance from the whole band. This winning formula is repeated throughout the 50 minute set with ‘Wanna Be Black’, ‘Song Away’ and ‘Curse This City’ showcasing just how strong their songs really are. A harmonica led, spaghetti western-tinged run through of ‘Four Holy Photos’ demonstrates a different, and more mellow, side to the band proving that they have the ability to build on their funk-rock formula and hopefully preventing them from being labelled one-trick ponies. Final encore ‘Put The Game Down’ sends the crowd home in a happy mood and, after this tour, larger venues and bigger success surely beckons.

Greg Belton

Updated: Sep 18, 2009

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