With support from Sissy and the Blisters
Oberhofer - Live At The Shacklewell Arms, London

The most appealing aspect of The Shacklewell Arms is its intimacy. Hidden away from the main ultra hip high street of Dalston lies this battered working men’s style club, home to a small bar adorned with pictures of Princess Diana and an adjoining venue that resembles more of front room than a live space - truly a unique place to showcase some of the most exciting acts today.

Sissy and the Blisters start proceedings with an overwhelmingly enigmatic set. At the start of the night, frontman James Geard calmly wanders the bar and plays pool, but there’s a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde situation amidst here. When he’s in front of the mic another persona infects his being, one that forces him to wriggle on the floor shouting, grabbing his band mates and shoving them, and staring wild eyed into the on looking crowd. This isn’t a negative factor whatsoever, it’s just extremely unexpected - like receiving an Xbox 360 on Christmas Day when all you were guaranteed was clothes. There’s an unmitigated amount of substance to this show too, it’s not just all riffs and screams, as Geard’s organ provides a twisted Beach Boys harmony to the heaviness of the tunes through ‘Do It Alone’, ‘We Are The Others’ and a compelling sped up cover of Pixies’ classic ‘Here Comes Your Man’, making their live set a surprisingly uncompromising affair.

Oberhofer start with ‘Gotta Go’, a song that demonstrates what they do best - insatiably catchy yet heartfelt indie with a simplistic naivety that can only come from a love broke youth. Not that there’s much of a divide between the audience and the band (apart from the drummer, who unfortunately has to play inside the cave like structure that the stage has bound him to), but lead singer Brad decides to bring the mic stand and his guitar onto the floor, where he dances and jumps through songs such as latest single ‘Cruisin’ FDR’ and ‘Haus’ like he’s some sort of special case ADD teen topped up on Mountain Dew let loose in public for the first time. Oberhofer also debut a new song tonight with ‘Earplugs’, a work that shows a personal growth for the band. Not that it’s a bad thing for them, because they do it well, but their newest material doesn’t have as much lyrical repetition or expected hooks that their released work has. For a group of young lads, they’re maturing at a fast rate. But, hey, we can’t be teenage indie princesses forever, can we? They finish the set with ‘Time Capsules II’ favorites ‘Away Frm U’ and ‘Gold’, which again sees Brad leaping from things he’s not supposed to when he decides to climb and kick the amps to draw out some cataclysmic feedback to end the show.

Another great thing about the Shacklewell is that it has housed some of the greatest talents around (such as The Horrors, who coincidently pop in for a drink tonight), and continue to boost the careers of newer bands such as TOY and Savages. It’s not a hunch but a guarantee that Sissy’ and Oberhofer will join the leagues of their predecessors. Long live The Shacklewell Arms.

Words by Jamie Carson
Photo by Carys Lavin

Click here for a photo gallery of the gig.

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