Gig Review: The Bohicas

Who: The Bohicas

Where: The Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne

When: 19th June 2014

When questions such as; are they the new ‘it’ band? Or will they be the next ‘big thing?’ are bandied about regarding a young band, it’s always best to take a step back from the initial furore of the blogosphere, have a listen or two and make up your own mind. Otherwise you may as well oil up your springs in preparation for the countless musical bandwagons that will no doubt pass your way.

One such band that seems to have garnered said attention is UK four piece The Bohicas –an acronym for ‘Bend Over Here It Comes Again’. The Essex/East London band’s reputation has grown steadily out here in Australia since the release of their Domino Records double A-sided single, ‘XXX/Swarm’. So there was no better way to continue that initial momentum, then by announcing a two date headlining tour here, and releasing their new self titled EP, just before these scheduled dates.

Last Thursday the Ding Dong Lounge played host to The Bohicas’ debut Melbourne performance and those ‘in the know’ turned out in force to more or less pack out the intimate Market Lane venue. Having been nicely warmed up by local garage rock thrashers Drunk Mums, the crowd meandered over to the bar to top up their beers and then sought out whatever floor space they could find.

The Bohicas strode on stage and received a pretty decent reception, and after a brief hello and “hope you feeling good” from front man Dominic McGuinness, the quartet kicked this evening proceedings with ‘Where You At’. Its upbeat nature and angular guitar sound echoed back to early noughties bands such as The Strokes and Franz Ferdinand, and got some of the crowd on side straight away.

‘Bandit’ and ‘In The Mood’ followed rather swiftly and highlighted the band’s ability to write catchy tunes that also contained, fast paced drumming, heavy bass licks and shredding guitar sounds, as well as harmonising from all four members. The pace was then taken down a peg or two with the slower ‘Red Raw’, which sounded a bit like Nirvana being fronted by Alex Turner or Miles Kane, but that wasn’t enough to keep up the interest by some of those in attendance.

Thankfully there was a bit of zip in the foursome during the 60’s garage rock sounding ‘Rampage’, which highlighted the influences that British stalwarts such as the Kinks, the Small Faces and the Beatles must have played in their upbringing. Sweat dropped from McGuinness’ brow as he moved about during ‘Bloodhound’, which was their sixth track in about 20 minutes, however it was the thumping drumming that was the highlight.

McGuiness was genuinely taken aback by the fact so many people showed up to their first ever gig in Melbourne, meaning that on their next visit there is a chance they will no doubt be playing to a larger crowd. However before this happens they will need more than just a handful of catchy songs, as ‘What I Mean’ and ‘Best Version’ felt as though they were just going through the motions. The former suffered from quite a bit of feedback too which took away from its chugging basslines.

They finished off their brief 40 minute set with the trio of ‘Crush Me’, ‘XXX’ and ‘The Swarm’. The squealing guitars and hammering of the skins, led those up the front into a frenzied mosh, with ‘XXX’ being a particular standout. Why they felt the need to leave all three better known songs until the very end, instead of peppering them throughout the set so as to keep up the night’s early impetus, is anyone’s guess.

Are they the saviours of rock’n’roll? On this evidence not quite as there wasn’t anything overly original on show. But with a full length debut still to record and no doubt a return visit to these shores in the not too distant future, the Bohicas have time to work on a few things.

Set List – ‘Where You At’, ‘Bandit’, ‘In The Mood’, ‘Red Raw’, ‘Rampage’, ‘Bloodhound’, ‘What I Mean’, ‘Best Version’, ‘Crush Me’, ‘XXX’ and ‘The Swarm’

This review originally appeared in Tonedeaf (An Australian music site)

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