Adam & Eve, Birmingham
As debut shows go, the stage of Birmingham's sweltering Adam & Eve on a summer evening is less inauspicious than it seems. It is like the Midlands' punk rock hotel after all. It's like the Albert Hall for Jimmy Tarbucks. It's on the map. Into this particular botanical garden though, Whitehaven's Hexed don't quite fit. They're too good; They don't tick the boxes and someone left their identikit zip up the back punk sounds songbook in the van. Or somewhere. Hexed instead bring on an absolute ton of bricks wall of sound owing something at least to American hardcore. It's audacious, it's awesome and it's a bit scary when you consider that the band has been together just six weeks. I was astonished. I couldn't move. My mouth went dry. Just maybe, Hexed are just the most brilliant undiscovered band straight outta Whitehaven. Maybe straight out of anywhere right now.
In a broader context, Whitehaven has something of a chequered rocknroll history. Sure, the keyboardist from It Bites came from there, but since then, it seems to have been quieter.
Hexed, lead by Richard Carr on vocals, are about as uncompromising as say, some might say, many might say, It Bites were compromised. Hexed'll never be a straightahead rock band, guitarist Frankie Chapman and their intently muscular rhythm section remains too subtle for that. Rick Casson's drums and Shaun Swarbrick's bass are clubbing you with diazepam and a dose of alcohol. It's a sophisticated chemical cosh surprisingly softening those hammer blows. It's a mercy killing and it's brilliantly momentarily redolent of say the Beastie Boys doing their East Coast hardcore sets and sometimes I think I hear Afrika Bambaataa in there and even then there's so much going on with the band it's like Tony Allen sitting in on a Motorhead show. I know. Oh wow.
And then they play songs like Psycho and Fuck You and The Fourth Kind (all songs as they noted with movie titles) and mercifully, it is punk rock after all. Hexed were on message and the mainly ancient-core punk audience knew. Wait 'til the kids get a load of this it's what they've been waiting for.
Hexed have some shows coming up and of course you can follow them and hear them on Facebook here.
Sams Club, Egremont, 9/21/2013
Adam & Eve, 9/25/2013
Manchester Academy, 9/28/2013
Rock 24/7, Whitehaven Civic Hall, 19/10/2013