Holy Moly & the Crackers / Hare and Hounds, Birmingham | 9th of November

Holy Moly & the Crackers / Hare and Hounds, Birmingham | 9th of November

On the 9th of November the Hare and Hounds in Birmingham was lifted up by a high-energy performance from Holy Moly & the Crackers. The Newcastle-based six-piece brought their unique mix of genres to the intimate venue, and had the audience dancing within seconds of the first song. This enthusiasm from the crowd didn’t let up throughout the entire. By the last song audience participation led to everyone chanting the chorus to the rousing single ‘Mary’.

First up though, support came from Rosie T, a singer-songwriter performing melodic lullabies accompanied by two violinists for extra orchestration. The songs were emotive with Rosie’s voice echoing throughout the room to a mellow, gathering crowd. Next up were The Tin Pigeons, performing as a duo instead of the original four-piece. With two guitars, one electric, one acoustic, and nice harmonies, the band performed their folk-inspired ballads to a more active audience as the night went on. Towards the end of their set, the crowd had loosened up and the duo finished on a high note. Which set the stage for the raucous set Holy Moly and the Crackers would bring.

Holy Moly & the Crackers have described themselves as “gypsy-folk-rock”, but that’s barely scratching the surface of what they can do. With the violin and the accordion adding a traditionally folky sound, the rock vibes coming from the drums, bass and guitar, and a trumpet thrown into the mix, their live performance is like a wild fusion of genres and musical influences. Violinist Ruth Patterson, and trumpeter/frontman Conrad Bird shared lead vocals. With Patterson’s soulful vocals clashing comfortably with Bird’s raspy voice and energetic persona. Every part of this band brings rampant enthusiasm, adding something completely different to their sound. It is testament to their talent and strength as a group that it all comes together effortlessly on stage.

They danced at a rapid, energetic pace through songs from their new album Salem, and older singles but no two songs sounded the same, and the set even included a Christmas themed tune. The highlights of the night came when the band performed instrumentals with such enthusiasm that the crowd were chanting, shouting and stomping their feet, first to the sounds of a Russian folk song, and later to the vibrant beats of a Jewish wedding song. These departures from what is usually expected of rock gig sound like they should have been out of place, but for Holy Moly this seems like the norm. This only escalated the liveliness of the gig and the passion of the crowd.

Holy Moly stirred up interest among music fans, especially because of these exuberant live shows and they fully lived up to the hype. I’ve never seen a band engage with their audience so easily and so soon into the set. I’ve also never seen an audience so willing to dance around to songs they didn’t know, plus some unexpected traditional Russian music. All in all, definitely worth the trip to one of their many gigs on the UK tour.


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