After a week solid of watching new bands all over London, I was close to burnout. So it was with great reluctance that I found myself standing in the darkest corner of the Garage with a glass of water and a headache, surrounded by over eager fans of a band I’d never heard before. I thought I’d (cleverly) timed my arrival to miss the support act, but after thirty seconds of the Explosion I’m glad my timekeeping stinks. Powerful, British sounding punk from a young American band with a healthy interest in Guinness and no doubt a few Levellers records on the tourbus. Their set was short, but rest assured I’ll see them again and give a full report.

Anyway, half an hour and several large bourbons later I was quite excited by the prospect of Hot Water Music. The noise from their (amazingly) massive fanbase was bordering on deafening (the Garage was breaking several health and safety laws relating to overcrowding tonight) and from what 17 year old fan Rob told me, they were definitely worth worsening my hangover for.

When they arrived onstage and blasted straight into their opening track (none of the song titles were announced, Rob had vanished by this point, and I couldn’t get a set list so I’m afraid they’re all nameless!) I bit my tongue and shook my head at the racket engulfing my poor head. But I wasn’t to be defeated. I had to stay strong. And I was rewarded as the next tune, with the bassist stepping back from the mic and lead vocalist Chris Wollard taking over was astounding. They have a lot of energy, and don’t sound obviously American (a good thing for this type of ‘punk’ band, with the exception of recent Green Day). Mixing strong vocal melody with raucous, violent guitars, Hot Water Music left a sizeable impression on this writer. There was a veritable shitload of energy flying around onstage - although the band were relatively static – it was more projected by their obvious belief in what they’re doing. And, along with good tunes, conviction is what I like to hear/see/feel most from a band.

Considering my state of mind (and body) upon entering this arena, leaving with the buzz that only comes with an outstanding gig says it all about Hot Water Music. Hangover or not, you should see this band play.

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Commenting On: Garage, London, 11/2/2005 - Hot Water Music/Explosion

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