Voodoo Daddy’s, Norwich May 29, 2023
by Mark Harrop
Having recently upped sticks from Cambridge, edgy indie duo Collars are clearly relishing the prospect of playing in Norwich, their new home city.
Effervescent singer Dan, resplendent under a mop of green hair, is backed by partner Kane, a one-man band keeping the beat on his pedal drum while driving harmonies on the guitar.
The sound is quirky, no more so than on The Argument – a punky, poppy number from the recently released debut album Clyde.
Dan’s antics with a megaphone add to the fun feel in a set full of humour and charm.
From the gentle Loaded to a fabulous rendition of the slow-burn Rabbit Heart, she demonstrates an exciting vocal range, while Baby I’m Bored is an angst-ridden demonstration of the couple’s musicianship and songwriting skills.
Welcome to Norwich, Collars. On this showing, they have a bright future in the city and beyond.
HotWax hit the stage like a tornado. A storm of flailing hair heralds a wall of power-punk as the Hastings trio hammer out Treasure from their new EP.
It’s uncompromisingly raw, too heavy on the bass and muddied by some early feedback issues, but as they get into their stride, HotWax prove they’re a force to be reckoned with.
Singer/guitarist Tallulah Sim-Savage is all snarls and sneers as she screams through All I Want and When We’re Dead, driven on by Lola Sam’s relentless bass and Alfie Sayers on drums.
There’s not a lot of light and shade here. Sim-Savage’s guitar comes up for air on EP title track A Thousand Times showing a lighter touch, but that’s about as subtle as it gets.
When she screeches I Am Not Your Barbie, few would be brave enough to argue and, in a similar vein, Rip It Out is bursting with anger and attitude. It closes a set which, while far from flawless, shows why HotWax are attracting so much attention.
The Pearl Harts have spent a decade refining their craft – and it shows.
The combination of heavy rock riffs with poppy exuberance brings a refreshing unpredictability to their music, brilliantly encapsulated on new album Love, Chaos.
Fronted by the bubbly Kirsty Lowrey on guitar and vocals with Sara Leigh on drums, they launch into Baby Chaos, the album’s unapologetically catchy opening track.
For a duo armed with only guitar and drums they generate a powerfully energetic vibe which continues through heavyweight punk rant Pullin’ My Brains Out and singalong crowd pleaser Lara.
The Pearl Harts have smoothed some edges from their sound since debut album Glitter And Spit was released in 2018 but on stage they remain a tight, sharp unit with songs that take classic rock themes in an unexpected direction.
Suck It Up and Gold encapsulate this vision perfectly despite a broken string causing an unscheduled interval while Lowrey hunts down a replacement guitar.
It doesn’t prevent a soulful solo lighting up Hurt from Glitter And Spit, which also provides closing numbers Hit The Bottle and the moody Black Blood.
The only disappointment is that two cracking tracks from Love, Chaos (Crazy As Hell and Comin’ Down) don’t make the set.
Perhaps they’re saving them for another show. If so, that’s one worth waiting for.