Live review: Hockey @ ABC 1, Glasgow

Expectation can be a curse. At the turn of the year we would have put good money on HOCKEY following in the riff-stream of The Strokes and The Killers to become the great new heroes of glammed-up American alternative rock.

While there’s still every chance the Portland boys will turn into the darlings of the media (they snagged a spot on Jools Holland last week despite only having one UK single to their name), watching them perform in the flesh for the first time last night exposed their limitations.
They look the part (i.e. they’d get a sound whipping if they weren’t in a band) with Hockey members sporting such preposterous features as a hairband, a semi-handlebar moustache, sunshine yellow jeans, indoor shades and a white-man afro – but they quite simply don’t have enough songs of real quality to fill a set.

During their final gig as tour support to Friendly Fires, singer Benjamin Grubin tries his hardest to rouse an attentive but whelmed Glasgow audience, flailing his arms around like a chimp during the new wave pop of Too Fake and making a possibly ill-thought-out remark about the Edinburgh crowd being “crazy” on the previous night.

Make no mistake, Song Away is as perfect as a pop song can get, and assuming the make-Hockey-famous mission goes to plan, it should be on the radios just in time to become the ‘surprise’ hit of the festival season. But as dazzling as Song Away is, don’t get carried away.

4 Hockey – Song Away
4 Hockey – Too Fake
b July 12, T in the Park, Balado (tickets)
b September 19, Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh (tickets)
b September 20, King Tut’s, Glasgow (tickets)

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