The Hoosiers + Absent Elk @ Wolverhampton Civic Hall – 21st October 2008

The Hoosiers, Civic Hall

I arrive at The Civic Hall this evening knowing what to expect, as I pull up I witness a sea of bright coloured, badly constructed fancy dress costumes. Everyone from police, presumably based on the song “Cops and Robbers” straight through to girls wearing brightly coloured knee socks, fairy wings and scribble on their faces (no reference to anything).

Regardless of this I was open to what to expect from tonight, it would be too easy to right off The Hoosiers as dressed up “performers”. I remember, prior to the success of The Hoosiers’ first single, front man Irwin was quoted in an interview mentioning that he was a small time semi professional footballer a couple of months before the release of “Worried About Ray”, although with Irwin’s talent for witty humour, I’m unsure of any truth in that. I had my reservations, but I knew the show would be “entertaining”, if nothing else.

Absent Elk, Civic HallAbsent Elk, Civic Hall

Absent Elk fitted the bill, providing crowd pleasing entertainment as they walked on stage. Lead man, Kjetil and bassist James provided most of the crowd interaction, encouraging the audience to join in with predictable “woahs” and “ooo’s” present in “Emily” whilst helping the crowed to clap along in the chorus, which seemed to continue through into the verse.

Rather than thrashing out constant “jump around” music, frontman, Kjetil’s vocals echoed perfectly during quiet moments of their set, most noticeably on “Change My World”, which seemed to enhance and contrast the mood about 4 or 5 times during the set. Towards the middle of the set, the band seemed to lose the audiences attention, even the more “rock” elements of the set wasn’t enough to pull the audience back in, with only a small group of people bopping along on the front row. They saved the best till last, pulling out a few upcoming singles with a heavier sound. A repetitive kick drum built up the audience into each chorus towards the end, which seemed to liven everyone up again.

The Hoosiers, Civic HallThe Hoosiers, Civic Hall

30 minutes later, we’re greeted by a transparent curtain across the stage. The Hoosiers appear disguised by the curtain, only given away by the small lights on their attire, which can only be described as a mix between Coldplay‘s dodgy jackets and a Star Trek fan. The curtain drops and the crowd blow the roof off! With a unpredicted opener to the set – it was slightly offbeat moments like this that seemed to be the theme for the evening.

After each song, Irwin took a short moment to engage with the audience, his small but witty links are actually humorous, in a slightly, geeky, Hugh Grant kind of way. Regardless, it makes a nice change to see a band that aren’t afraid to have a laugh on stage.

The Hoosiers, Civic Hall

After about 3 or 4 opening songs, the audience seemed to get it out of their system, and we’re treated to something I wasn’t really expecting. The lights are dimmed between songs, and there’s about a minute of strange little noises, mainly birds whistling etc. This then flows into a less energetic song, which explained the support acts. Getting the right mix of sing/dance-along music and taking the time to contrast that approach was an admirable move from a band that encourage fancy dress and singing along.

The Hoosiers, Civic HallThe Hoosiers, Civic Hall

Wolverhampton was treated to snippets of new material, most noticeably, “Sister, Sister” which just sounded more grown up but still fairly catchy, and didn’t fail to keep the audience moving.

So whilst the 5-10 year olds enjoy a bit of “Cops and Robbers”, the parents seem to finding themselves nodding appreciatively to new material. I was pleasantly surprised that The Hoosiers chose a “loud, loud, quiet, loud” set list, but I couldn’t help but think that, for short amounts of time, the younger members of the audience were left a little confused. Overall, a fairly smart gig, promising a little something for the mass demographic who attended and a hint of even more promising new material on the way.

The Hoosiers, Civic Hall

Review & Photos – Chris Barber

About Author

2 thoughts on “The Hoosiers + Absent Elk @ Wolverhampton Civic Hall – 21st October 2008

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *