Live: The Jezabels, Dry The River, Kai Fish, Hey Sholay (NME Awards Show), Koko, 22/2/12

There was much, much hype for The Jezabels at Koko for their NME Awards Show – it seemed as if half the Australian ex-pat population of London had turned out for the gig. Before the main event, we were entertained by Hey Sholay, who surprised the crowd by taking standard indie to soaring levels of atmospheric noise, and Kai Fish (drummer of Mystery Jets side project) which wasn’t fully cohesive – backing singer Abby had learnt the set four hours before the show, and so we are not quite sure what the story was there. Kai can certainly hold his own as a frontman – perhaps Blaine should let him take centre stage on occasion?

Hey Sholay – Wishbone

Kai Fish – My Anima

Dry The River arrived with their epic soundscapes and heart-wrenching lyrics, beautiful harmonies and paradoxical musical styles, which worked perfectly. They are seriously impressive, hardcore boys with heart – and you will have never heard guitar used in a rock context like it.

Dry The River – Weights & Measures

Finally the super-slick Jezabels took to the stage to screams from the packed crowd. People were practically hanging off the balconies. Frontwoman Hayley Mary – for whom there was an awful lotta love from male audience members – was basically Lisbeth Salander with a big singing voice; this girl wouldn’t sound wrong belting out a power ballad or six. A crazy mixture of Karen O and Kate Bush, maybe. Their lyrics covered surefire crowd-pleasing topics (much talk of Endless Summer and skies) and the set was full of catchy, powerful pop, with a slight emo vibe. A few songs in, Hayley declared they were about to play a never-done-live-before song, Nobody Nowhere, which demonstrated just how impressive her vocals are. Phrases ‘a female Jared Leto’ and ‘Angels and Airwaves‘ might have been banded about: Jezabels were perhaps a little too polished at times and we were craving something a little more ‘real’ from these obviously-accomplished musicians. Hayley is a brilliant vocalist, but she is just that – the rest of the band are clearly talented but perhaps don’t get a chance to show off their skills. Closing with hit single Hurt Me and encoring with Dark Storm sent the crowd into raptures.

The Jezabels – Endless Summer

Their small army of (predominantly Ozzie) fans were singing back every word – The Jezabels have clearly found their corner of the market and look set to conquer it.

Words and pic: Georgina Langford

Thanks to: Karen & Doug @ LD Communications

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