Exowaves / The Underground, Hanley | 10th of November

Exowaves / The Underground, Hanley | 10th of November

I went to The Underground venue in Hanley for the first time on Friday 10th of November, it is a cool space, arty, grungy and quite sparse. There were four acts on, the first two were really good, and the fourth, but I am focusing on the third act on – Exowaves.

From the start they seemed to have a really fresh energy; even though I could see lots of glimmers of influences, such as the 1990s Manchester scene music and a bit of Arctic Monkeys.  They also had a kind of punky, grungy feel, that was retro but contemporary. I thought really had an original and a rock n’ roll, style that made me think of bands such a The John Spencer Blues Explosion and Black Rebel Motor Cycle Club.  The band was interestingly experimental in a personable way to the audience.  In sentiment it evoked images of art school bands from the 1960s, who may have been inspired by the Beat Nic generation. But there were no pretentions; Exowaves are cool, but really down to earth.  They have fun with the music and play with switching between sentiments and also annoyance, in a playful and positive way.

Exowaves opened on a high note and kept this momentum up, with the assertively passionate delivery of lines by the lead singer, who is a great front man, moving hypnotically around the stage and pointing wittily out members of the audience as if he is in dialogue with them, or even as if referring to them in his words, I am not sure if this was intentional or not, and at one point I am sure he was pointing at me – but I could be wrong!   He sang well and then seemed to attack some of the lyrics cathartically and the rest of the band shared the same sentiments, which was great.  I found myself in agreement, with his persuasive viewpoint and lyrics – their perspective seemed totally justifiable to me!  The lead singer sat down at one point along with the guitarist, and it felt really mellow and chilled.  The guitarist, joined in a little bit of the vocals, which was quite raw, and experimental, it felt really spontaneous and I liked the naturalness of this a lot.  The band has a good harmony together that works really effortlessly well and they are all strong musicians.

Some of the songs were dark and melodramatic, emanating an enthralling horror story feel such as the brilliant song Side Effects with the lyrics ‘Watching my demons come and go from my soul…’ in contrast with a pretty and uplifting love song called ‘Sonic Beauty’.  The gig seemed to go too quickly, and I could have gladly heard more.  This band is very intelligent and has a wide appeal even though they are cool and quite unique. I really would recommend them as a great band to see, and I cannot wait to hear more from this band from Stoke On Trent.

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