LIVE: Hands Like Houses / I The Mighty @ The Bodega, Nottingham

By Mark Johnson

Hands Like Houses have grown stronger with each new release and recent record ‘Dissonants’ is no exception. With an ever swelling fan-base it’s surprising to see the band crammed into the confined space of The Bodega, rather than one of Nottingham’s more suitably larger venues.

Before the Australians take to the stage, I the Mighty warm up the crowd with an impressive performance. It’s the first time the San Fransisco-based quartet have made it to the UK and they’ll no doubt be heading back with more fans than they came with. Brandon Walsh’s vocals are spot on throughout the set, his energetic performance matching the upbeat drums and fast paced songs. The band’s recent album ‘Connector’ is clean and intricate and while some of this clarity is lost on stage, it’s compensated by a mass of energy, which keeps the set moving along until the closing stages.

The Bodega’s stage is a modest size and Hands Like Houses utilise every inch of it, finding as much space as possible to move around and entertain the crowd. Being keen to air out the new record, the set is dominated by songs from ‘Dissonants’, and each track sounds perfectly suited to a live setting. The new record has some of their heaviest material to date and on stage the downtuned riffs and pulsating drums carry even more impact.

Frontman Trenton Woodley produces another note-perfect performance, proving why he’s one of the genre’s most respected vocalists. There’s not a lot of space for Woodley to move on stage, but his excellent voice and commanding presence does enough to capture the crowd’s attention. It’s the perfect time to put in a good shift as the band were also live-streaming the set through social media.

It’s a shame there’s not more room on stage for the band to express themselves fully, but despite needing to cage their energy for the sake of space, Hands Like Houses offer another fantastic performance. While it’s good for bands to boast sold out shows, it’s disappointing when elements of the performance are compromised in order to do so. Hands Like Houses are an excellent live band and hopefully next time they’ll be given the opportunity to demonstrate this on a stage more befitting their experience and quality.