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Cut Off Your Hands @ the HiFi bar, with Brand New Math and Jack Ladder 08/11/08

November 19, 2008

(This was written for another site I write for, theAUreview, but I figured I’d just stick it up here also. It probably should have been posted before my Jack Ladder album review, but ohh well!)

It had been a while since I’ve managed to catch Auckland’s own power pop quartet Cut Off Your Hands. With the last time I saw this energetic act being back in January at the Big Day Out, since then they’ve come and gone from our shores several times, while working on their debut record, You and I, which was released this October. I was excited to finally see this band again and hear they’re catchy tunes, new and old, again.
Starting the night off was fellow Auckland band Brand New Math, with lively and electric pop songs. This is definitely a band that could find themselves fitting nicely into a Modular line-up, for better or for worse. If it weren’t for the barely there crowd, this band would have you dancing in no time, each song was catchy, with light-hearted keyboard melodies contrasting with dark and menacing guitar, a very suiting support for their fellow New Zealand pals. Though one element to this bands performance that didn’t sit quite right was the lead vocalists and his seemingly pissed off attitude, as though he was attempting to play come sort of tortured soul card, instead appearing as more of a total douche, carelessly throwing his guitar around, playing with broken strings as if it were some sort of fashion statement, and even pushing his fellow band mate out of the way when changing the sound of the keyboard.
Second came Jack Ladder, usually flying solo, he was back by bass and drums, and armed with Wreckery-esque country blues songs. I am not sure as to how many in the audience would have been able to fully appreciate Jack Ladder’s provocative storytelling, but one this is for certain, he is an amazing song writer, and no older that 25 (at least that is my guess) it is hard to imagine where such wise and weathered lyrics could possibly come from.
Then of course, Cut Off Your Hands! They charged onstage, opening with ‘Happy As Can Be’, loud and exuberant! Their captivating and charismatic pop songs took on a whole new life on stage, injected with a whole new energy, not found on their record. Third song in, they played their blistering rendering of The Sonics’ songs, ‘The Witch’. The fairly packed room danced to all the favourites, ‘Oh Girl’, ‘Expectations’ and ‘Still Fond’, before a stage invasion occurred, encouraged by vocalist Nick, adding to the entertainment value was the venue manager, having some harsh words with the front man as the crowd exited the stage and headed back to the dance floor, before giving their audience one last chance to dance, with another cover, ‘Shark Attack’ by Spilt Enz.
They were loud and chaotic, the energy never wavering, and though the songs are simple, live they have a brutality, with booming drums and static guitar with more ‘punk’ spirit racing through their performance than many so-called punk bands going around today.
Cut Off Your Hands MySpace
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