After eight years absence psychedelic indie band The Sacred Hearts reformed for a show at The Fermain Tavern on Friday 21st June 2013.
Following such a long break from public performance anticipation for the six-piece band’s return was high as DJ SilverVespa got everyone in the appropriate musical mood as the doors opened and the venue was soon busy with punters spanning generations from those certainly too young to even remember the Hearts first run in the early 1990s to those who have been fans since the band first took to the stage.
Before The Sacred Hearts though Party In Paris treated the crowd to a set of their pop rock sounds.
Much like their last show I caught the band took a while to warm up, but by the second half of the set presented a punchy sound that engaged many of the younger crowd who had lined the front of the stage.
This wasn’t the first time this crowd had struck me when watching Party In Paris as they are, predominantly, made up of one of the island’s groups of heavy metal fans, adorned largely in black with t-shirts and patches ranging from Machine Head to Cannibal Corpse, all rocking out to a far lighter form of rock ‘n’ roll than their attire might suggest. I’m not criticising this, after all my tastes span at least a similar breadth, but it is a both a striking and surprising sight.
Party In Paris themselves were their usual proficient selves and, with an expanding brass section, seem to be trying to add something a bit different to Guernsey’s music scene, which is always to be applauded, but it was when they hit the more rocking numbers and stripped things back to their more straightforward line-up that they seemed to really be at their best.
Originally formed by Mark Le Gallez and Colin Leach in the aftermath of their time as The Risk, The Sacred Hearts rode the wave of British indie in the early 90s that was popularly headlined by the likes of The Stone Roses. Well it may be at least 20 years later now, but this band, completed by Colleen Irven, Mark Guppy, Matt Hutchinson and Chris Denton, seem to have lost no sense of energy or power.
Listening to them was something like falling through a psychedelic timewarp and, despite a few guitar based technical in the first couple of songs things were soon firing on all cylinders with Mark Le Gallez seemingly channeling Lux Interior and doing his utmost to destroy as many microphones and leads as possible (it’s a good job SM58s are tough).
The varied age range in the crowd packing to the front of the stage with some singing the songs back at the band and carrying the rest (such as myself) along safe in the knowledge that many of these songs were undeniable classics and still had the same ability to make people now as they always did.
While the man otherwise known as Hillbill was, as always, a centre of manic energy, Colleen did her best to match him and, along with Colin Leach and Mark Guppy provided an excellent front line all of whom were clearly enjoying themselves as much as the crowd with Colin in particular standing out for a more effects drenched guitar style only hinted at from his work with The Risk.
Chris and Matt were a more understated but none the less formidable rhythm section as they provided the power over which the others could lay their sound and style and help keep the dancing going throughout the set which rounded off with a storming quartet of Adorable, All Fall Down, Love Bomb (including Hush) and Motorbike Beat which left the audience calling for more.
Whether we get more or not remains to be seen, but I certainly hope we do as The Sacred Hearts managed to combine nostalgia with genuine fresh energy in a way rarely seen and they have a selection of excellent songs that deserve to be heard.