Live: OHHMS / Femme Dé

OHHMS: Chainy Rabbit going walkabout (Picture: Niki Jones Photography)
OHHMS: Chainy Rabbit going walkabout (Picture: Niki Jones Photography)

Voodoo Daddy’s Showroom, Norwich April 23, 2023

by Niki Jones

It’s cold, it’s raining, it’s Sunday and the main support band have had to drop out at the last minute.

Fortunately, this has done little to dampen the healthy crowd here at Voodoo Daddy’s this evening.

Femme Dé leave a lasting impression (Picture: Niki Jones Photography)
Femme Dé leave a lasting impression (Picture: Niki Jones Photography)

The pizza probably helps, but the fact that OHHMS may have just released the album of their career might have a bit to do with it, too.

Norfolk’s Femme Dé kick off proceedings with a fierce mix of discordant noise-rock venom and post-punk ennui. Guitarist/vocalist Alex sneers and snarls through a caustic set of bangers, culminating in a one-two punch of their brand new EP, the indignant 38 and the searingly furious Racing Horse.

A fierce mix: Femme Dé (Picture: Niki Jones Photography)
A fierce mix: Femme Dé (Picture: Niki Jones Photography)

They leave a lasting impression here – not least on OHHMS singer Paul Waller, who immediately purchases a T-shirt to wear on stage.

Next we should be seeing Kent cinematic instrumentalists Coldbones. They’ve been forced to drop out, which is definitely our loss as they’re really bloody good.

Paul Waller doing a pop banger? Surely not... (Picture: Niki Jones Photography)
Paul Waller doing a pop banger? Surely not… (Picture: Niki Jones Photography)

But the Garden of England does not go unrepresented, thanks to OHHMS. Their brand new album Rot is a glorious ode to Waller’s love of horror movies and it takes pride of place this evening.

The pummelling Body Melt into Swamp Thing kick us off before smashing into the deceptively catchy The Mephisto Waltz, possibly the closest they’ve come to a singalong pop banger (it’s no Little Mix but it’s damn catchy by OHHMS standards).

OHHMS fly the flag for Kent (Picture: Niki Jones Photography)
OHHMS fly the flag for Kent (Picture: Niki Jones Photography)

Tonight is the last night of the tour but you wouldn’t know it from looking at them.

Waller sways and swaggers round the stage like Ozzy Osbourne when all of his drugs have just kicked in, clapping like Mick Jagger one minute and swaying like Perry Farrell the next, his voice sounding ferocious yet melodic.

OHHMS are impressive tonight (Picture: Niki Jones Photography)
OHHMS are impressive tonight (Picture: Niki Jones Photography)

He would be the main focus of most bands but tonight every member brings something to the live table.

During the break down in Blood Feast, bassist Chainy Rabbit abandons the stage, stalking the audience while screaming the song title into people’s (seemingly delighted) faces.

OHHMS: A real team effort (Picture: Niki Jones Photography)
OHHMS: A real team effort (Picture: Niki Jones Photography)

At one point he attempts to climb some chairs before collapsing on several people, including a poor photographer.

A couple of older tunes do get some attention. Revenge and the colossal Alive from their previous opus Close hold up the middle of the set before A Dark Song and the moving Let’s Scare Jessica To Death take us home, with the vocal interplay between Waller, Rabbit and guitarist Stuart Day really shining.

OHHMS help make it a brilliant Sunday night (Picture: Niki Jones Photography)
OHHMS help make it a brilliant Sunday night (Picture: Niki Jones Photography)

Waller’s between-song banter is wonderfully down to earth as he explains his inspirations for the new tunes and is a refreshing contrast to the glorious racket the band make.

As they’ve got time to fill, due to Coldbones’ absence, they close with the near 20-minute epic The Anchor from their Cold release.

Sticking the boot in (Picture: Niki Jones Photography)
Sticking the boot in (Picture: Niki Jones Photography)

It’s an impressive swansong to a brilliant evening.

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