- God Damn
As vocalist and guitarist Paul Astick thanks the crowd again for coming out on a Thursday night, a growing suspicion had been all but confirmed: HAWK EYES are a nice bunch of guys. From their warm introductions to crowd interaction, this endearing sentiment steadily gains clarity. Even the name of the band’s new record, Everything Is Fine, lends emphasis to such a perception. No niceties however can blunt the relentless energy that Hawk Eyes have become purveyors of, as track after track bludgeons those gathered in a dogged flurry of unforgiving riffs. Polite and considerate the band may appear, but hesitant and tempered their live show certainly is not.
Thankfully, there is a degree of preparation prior to the Leeds-based four-piece taking centre circle. Local acts ELEVANT and MOTHERS consecutively pile on the sonic pressure and provide our ears with a little bit of training. The theatrical performance of Elevant’s Michael Edward (Vocals, Guitar) is perhaps received with more uncertainty than the mesh of post-punk, psychedelia and anything-in-between his band delivers, but it passes the baton into the hand of Mothers in fine fashion. Mothers retract some of the eccentricities and replace it with more noise, as the three-piece subsequently indulge in a dense, sludgy paradise.
Assaulting their instruments and our eardrums in a manner so rabid the whole room feels feral, GOD DAMN’s direct and unbridled approach, executed most decisively on the volatile Heavy Money, provides the final stage of our pre-amp prep. Thomas Edward (Guitar, Vocals) wails like a man possessed behind a curtain of blond locks. It isn’t pretty, but it’s overwhelming, and, most importantly, very, very satisfying.
A cursory breather in between sets has thus far this evening been forgone, and the trend is maintained as, after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, Hawk Eyes descend into an unrelenting sonic assault. Favourites Witchhunt, Headstrung and I Hate This, Do You Like It? are delivered at an impeccable pace, each riff as focused as it is fatal. Astick’s vocals are typically robust, and his performance equally vigorous. The perfect balance of savagery and restraint, he throws himself into every vocal and guitar line with the intention to kill. He threatens to calm things down a little bit when he dons a pair of glasses and ties back his hair, though within seconds he has reverted to the wide-eyed force which suits him so well.
The true treat of the evening arrives in the form of the band’s most recent single The Ballad Of Michael McGlue, which Astick informs us is “the first time we’ve played this song”. It’s easy to forget tonight’s outing is as a result of new material, with each track seamlessly slipping into the next without losing any of its feral, unbridled force.
As the aggressor fades, the pleasantries again take centre stage. There is a wild spirit which takes residency within the heart of Hawk Eyes, and, for all the niceties on show, it is this which guarantees the ride is so sweet. Dangerously sweet.