At very short notice following the breakdown of the Of Mice & Men Cold World tour, Hands Like Houses announced two shows playing latest album Dissonants in full for the first time: London and Southampton. Fizzy Blood jumped at the chance to support at the London show and travelled down from Leeds to do so, bringing with them their usual energetic show.
With their blend of moderate alternative rock and indie punk, many of the crowd were taken slightly by surprise. Fizzy Blood are very different from Hands Like Houses, but in a way the pairing really worked; the two bands both blend many influences to create a fusion of genres within their own sound while remaining pretty heavy in parts. While not many of the audience members knew the tracks produced by the band, there was a lot of interaction and Fizzy Blood left the stage satisfied with their set. [8/10]
When Hands Like Houses emerged, the intimate venue had an atmosphere almost tangibly electric. Trenton made a point of telling everyone that this was the first time they had ever played Dissonants in full, and kicked straight off with I Am to get the momentum going. The band shredded through Perspectives and Colourblind with little time to stop for a breather much to the instrumentalists’ torment, but the joy on the faces was clear for all to see.
Towards the end of the set, the speeches became more common as Trent realised those around him needed to breathe for a while with the intensity of the show. These came in the form of explaining where Dissonants came from in terms of concepts, as well as there the individual tracks came from in the heads of the members. Following these though came plays of some of the conceptually biggest tracks of the album, namely Momentary, Motion Sickness and Grey Havens.
The biggest interaction however came from Degrees of Separation which is the most pop-style track on Dissonants. The crowd without exception were moving to the beat and the majority were singing along, and many felt that this made up for the lack of the track’s inclusion on the Cold World tour setlist when it hit local venue the Forum three weeks ago.
After the final notes of Bloodlines rang out, Trenton thanked everyone for coming in the usual style, and Hands Like Houses left the stage, yet the audience wanted more. Chants of “one more song” came ringing out, and with a good half hour to go before the curfew the band knew they couldn’t just leave them wanting more. A few minutes passed as they scrambled together a plan for what to do next, and with a dashing of crew members about the venue they returned to the stage.
Trenton announced “we were here to play Dissonants in full and we’ve done that…” and asked “what do you want from us?”, leading to fans screaming various songs both from their catalogue and others’. He made reference to the fact he couldn’t hear anyone and said they were going to “just play something and hope”, breaking into No Parallels from the 2013 Unimagine album before finishing up on usual set-closer Introduced Species.
Overall, the night may well prove to be the “coming of age” night for Hands Like Houses. They’ve recently completed hundreds of miles on the Of Mice & Men tour and have played one of the most energetic and fuelled events Boston Music Room could have ever seen. Even playing some songs for the first time couldn’t knock the band from their stride – they are in the form of their lives.