Considering I had been planning to attend last nights gig for a few months now I was slightly concerned that I was going to be left feeling disappointed, not because I have grown bored of Hurts and definitely not through lack of confidence in their ability as a live band, but because of my own listening behaviour. Bearing in mind that I’ve had their album on repeat since I bought it and that I’d been prepping my curiousity all week with live videos on youtube, I’d say there was a pretty high chance of me destroying it for myself through my own hype.Luckily however, this didn’t happen. Not only did last nights show match my preconceptions, it absolutely smashed them out of the water.
Following their expressionless and static backing band onto the stage to a synth and bass heavy introduction, Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson entered like the suave, well styled gentleman you’d expect and they kept this cool sophistication throughout their set.
Hutchcraft infact, was one of the most engaging and appealing frontmen I’ve come across in a very long time, his stage presence was theatrical but ever so subtly, never once balancing on the edge of prententious, even when throwing white roses into the crowd as he did on several occasions. Vocally too, he was spot on. Notably when performing ‘Devotion’ which was obviously lacking the vocals of Kylie Minogue we’re used to on the album, you would hardly have realised she was missing.
In terms of a setlist too, it couldn’t have been more perfect. So many times I’ve seen ‘one album bands’ live that do one of two things, play a ridiculously short set or play a set containing only 40% of the release I came to hear and spend the rest of the time filling with dialogue or B-sides nobody cares about. Hurts got it exactly right, playing 10 out of the 11 songs from ‘Happiness’ (‘The Water’ was the only exception), B-Side ‘Mother Nature’ and a cover of aforementioned collaborator Minogue’s ‘Confide In Me’.
Opening with album starter ‘Silver Lining’ and following with potentially their most well known hit ‘Wonderful Life’ would’ve been considered a brave move by many people in the room last night I’m sure, the thought certainly crossed my mind. But the greatest thing about Hurts live is their ability to draw you in with every song, every track sounds like a hit and in return they receive a constant enthusiasm from their audience which never became less passionate, no matter the point in the set. Infact my friend and I were constantly having to change our guesses for their choice of encore, something which is normally so easy with the majority of bands as their ‘big tracks’ are so obvious.
‘Evelyn’ – Which is one of my least favourite tracks on the album but when played live was given an injection of adrenaline which blew the dust off the studio version and my eardrums.
‘Unspoken’ – Even more beautiful live, goosebumps.
Blood, Tears and Gold
Confide In Me
Better Than Love
Overall, a must see and now for me, a must see again. Bring on the festival line ups.
Hurts – Unspoken (YSI)