Sometimes appearances can be deceptive, not so with The Hot Sprockets, a Dublin five piece with a Texan tailor. The pictures of lovely Italy had not long since been straightened after The Pulpit had delighted the crowd last week at Shakedown, when the five boys took to the stage in their well worn boots.
The set opened with Midnight Train an authentic, rocky number that set the tone for the night ahead. The Hot Sprockets’ influences would roll-call a variety of artists, mostly American, from wide-ranging genres. The rolling rhythm of Age Kelly’s drums and Joe Lynch’s bass coupled with the itchy harmonica sound of Frankie Kelly, produce an acoustic narrative similar to that of Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. However the rip-roaring guitars and woozy vocals remind one of the delightful rawness captured by The Kings of Leon on Youth and Young Manhood. Although these influences are clear, the band is not simply relying on old recipes. They have taken much and added more, with flashes of blues and country music clear ingredients of the sound.
The lyrics are sung by Tim Cullen and Wayne Soper, who between them also share guitar duties. Chant really sets the crowd in motion with its Kinksesque flourish, exemplifying the bands cohesion. While some songs are frantic moments of rocking energy others are more melodic and slower paced. Sleep Shake is an example of a track that exemplifies the latter style.
The essence of any live performance is in the attitude of the performers, and that’s perhaps the bands strongest card. They are five men that play instruments very well, have long hair and beards and regularly shout whohoo and ye-haa in between lyrics about whisky and honey skipping. Its rock’n’roll that will make you want to dance, just ask anyone present at the gig. The band announce before the end they will soon be releasing new material on a, wait for it, 45. “Why on vinyl, in this modern age?” I later ask, “For the craic” they reply. While the competition in the business is strong, they have promise in abundance, and may well be ready for bigger things.
Another week goes by and another band has shown the crowd at Shakedown a rock’n’roll time.
Just straighten those pictures if you would.
review by Brian Morrissey