At Oxford Art Factory on Friday night not even a pair of latex-clad dancers blowing leaves across the floor could diffuse the testosterone that a few hipsters had created, the disappointingly futile scuffle probably caused by nothing more than who had the ‘loudest shirt’.
The hostile energy that a few ‘heroes’ created thankfully quickly shifted into celebration.
Six-piece Northeast Party House rocked their synthesised beats while lead singer Zac Hamilton-Reeves prompted the crowd to jump around like a salmon – his signature move. You And I changed the tune as the yearning and echoed sounds forced the crowd to slow down. Big percussive dru mbeats washed over the lead guitarist, who seemed to have a post-coital glow about him.
It wasn’t too long before the Neanderthal-heavy crowd became themselves
again as popular track, Sick Boy, (fittingly) made the audience take a step back: spilled beers and disorganised circle pits filled the floor as an irritating wind-back and the sound of metal grinding finished it off. However, redemption was granted as the band played a fairly apt version of “one of their favourite Aussie bands”, The Vines’Get Free. Similarly apt was their version of Covered In Chrome by Violent Soho which followed, a perfect choice for them.
The Haunted really showcased the six-piece’s craft and synchronicity. As they played facing one another, you could feel the energy that surrounded them, and it was a moment of taking them seriously. A sold out show was well deserved – but why dancers that looked like black sperm were in our peripheral view remained an unaddressed distraction.
It would only be fair to end the set with Youth Allowance, an anthem with a message of tween complacency and entitlement. Fist-pumps demonstrated the dwellers’ enthusiasm playing to the parody.