The biggest crowd of the night had assembled within touching distance of the stage by the time the band had finished set up and were ready to begin, and they were ready for a party. And when lead singer Matt Smith took the stage with bottle of beer in hand it looked like they were going to get one.
Opening track ‘Stand Up’ was the first thing that I heard from the band and it took all of 20 seconds for it to become blindingly obvious that the recording I heard really hadn’t done the song justice. When I first listened to it two weeks ago I quite liked it, at 20 past 11 last night I was in love with it. The riff will be in your head for days, and the energy of the performance really brought it to life.
Things went down a gear for the more thoughtful ’79.’ The standout here is the melody; it carries the song along in brilliant fashion. The band had settled into the gig really quickly and everything appeared to be flowing really easily. (Including the beer) You can’t underestimate the positive impact that seeing a band enjoying themselves on stage can have on the audience. It just gives everyone a lift.
‘Mind Away’ is again driven by a catchy little riff, something that is a feature of the band, and a great feature at that. Once more the alcohol fuelled audience lapped up every last note and the resounding cheers as the song came to a close showed that the band were on top form.
The next track ‘Revolution’ saw a slight move away from the melody driven opening tracks, it’s just a straight up rock song. It’s short on frills and subtlety but high on quality, something which is epitomised by the brilliant guitar solo towards the end. ‘Born on A Star’ is Brit-pop 2014 style. The song structure and the tone of the guitar especially is reminiscent of early Oasis, think along the lines of ‘Live Forever’ and ‘Supersonic.’ It’s not like the track is stupidly similar but there’s a definite similarity there.
‘Don’t Tell Me’ is again characterised by the great musicianship on show. Out of the band and the crowd it’s hard to tell who is feeding off who but the energy in the room is fantastic. In a set packed full of highlights penultimate song ‘Enemies & Friends’ was probably THE highlight. The song has an athemic feel and great sing along quality. It certainly has the potential to be single and really shows the band at their best. The passionate vocal really brought the lyrics to life, it was fantastic.
The band brought the curtain down on the night with the straight rocking ‘Everything in Place.’ But as good as the song was the stage invasion will be the thing that sticks in the memory, and in a strange way it’s a brilliant thing that it does. I say this because I think it demonstrates why Hightower are such a brilliant band.
All night the audience sang along and the connection between them and the band on stage was obvious. Hightower make music that people can relate to, you can understand it; you can feel it and you can sing along to it to your hearts content. The band aren’t up on a pedestal, they are at the bar with you, and when they perform you are on the stage with them. (Literally it seems)
Hightower are uncomplicated rock music for the masses, and on last night’s evidence the masses love it.
As always all photography comes courtesy of the brilliantly talented justclairephotography. Check her out on Facebook.