Fleeing New York + The Fairies Band + Mach Schau + Ed Hicks

Live at the Joiners, Southampton, 16th July 2005

by PH

The Joiners was slow to fill up for this launch gig of the ‘Artists Rising’ album, that features local trio Fleeing New York. It’s a shame, because Ed Hicks’ unique brand of songs was as entertaining as it was very much a break from the norm. His quirky, angular guitar work displayed technical competence, and confidence, that kept your attention all the way through. Working purely on his own, Ed’s enthusiasm for his songs and engaging performance made you realise why he doesn’t have a support band – he doesn’t need one. The arrival of Mach Schau, and more punters, really got the evening into full swing. Their unashamedly cocky punk rock songs have a raw energy that is infectious and exciting. With the band concentrating on the music, singer Johnny throws himself, and various objects, around the room with a don’t-give-a-fuck attitude that befits their music. That’s not to say, however, that they are purely one-dimensional. Their punk rock numbers sit alongside more considered tracks, showing that they have the diversity and potential to really make moves. The Fairies Band is essentially a realised concept – getting four girls to front a rock band. Mix that with lots of bottles of Stella and you have a shambolic half hour of…well, four girls fronting a rock band. After the second song you realise that that’s all you have. The songs struggle to find any definition from each other and the gimmick soon loses its appeal. A few synchronised dance moves and attempts at creating harmonies do little to draw you back in. It’s not a bad idea in essence - they just need some songs and some talent to make it work. Those are two things Fleeing New York should have and a certain air of expectancy greets them as they take to the stage to prove it. I’m fairly sure most of the crowd didn’t need too much persuading. Their on-stage persona is professional and polished. They look comfortable as a band and their songs are despatched with confidence. Up Up Up Up and At Night, the two tracks from their current double single, tend to stand out. My main criticism is that the rest of their songs aren’t as catchy or as memorable. That and the fact that they sell their badges for 50p.