LIVE: Oso Oso / Prince Daddy & The Hyena / Fresh @ Boston Music Room, London

By Renette van der Merwe

Here’s the best thing about a co-headline tour: not one, but two forty-five minute sets.

This particular Thursday night co-headliner, which took place at Boston Music Room, came from Prince Daddy & the Hyena and Oso Oso, but not before Brighton punks, Fresh, christened the stage with a stand-in drummer and an arsenal of indie-punk tunes, all rose tinted with poppy hooks and big energy. What became crystal clear throughout their set, was not only their infectious enthusiasm, but also the undeniable chemistry between bandmates, making them all the more likeable, whilst also ticking the boxes for a great live set. 

Now, if Fresh had big energy, Prince Daddy & the Hyena reaches category 5. Unyielding from the opening moments of ‘I Lost My Life’ to the final seconds of ‘Really’, the New Yorkers were a force, battering the crowd with fan favourites like ‘Thrashville 1/3’, ‘Lauren (Track 2)’ and ‘I Forgot to Take My Meds Today’. 

Vocalist Kory Gregory’s voice is rough and ferocious, the utter magnitude of it best understood when put in contrast with Oso Oso’s Jade Lilitri’s, when the latter came out for a guest appearance on ‘Thrashville 2/3’. Barely audible over the sweet chaos of Prince Daddy’s set, it put into perspective just how frenetic the band really are. At times, this can almost become jarring, especially for first time listeners. Don’t get me wrong, this is a band of skilled musicians, a solid vocalist and a catalogue bursting with punchy tracks, but at times, you crave a moment of relief. It’s like having pizza every day of your life. It’s incredible, but by the third or fourth day, it gets harder to stomach. Throw in a couple of broccoli florets every now and again, and boom, the magic of the slice has been reinstated. Just like you need the good to appreciate the bad, varying tempo would make the high-energy moments feel so much more significant. 

With a palpable shift in atmosphere, it was a question of whether Long Island’s Oso Oso could follow on from such a dynamic set; a question completely forgotten when the band took to the stage. Kicking things off with the rather fitting ‘intro’ and following it up with favourites like ‘the view’, ‘Track One, Side A’ ‘the cool’ and ‘the walk’. Lilitri’s voice is beautiful; tender and sincere as he delivers every lyric earnestly over the rising and falling melodies of his back catalogue. The set feels uplifting as bodies sway along to the radiant instrumentation. 

The set winds down with ‘Reindeer Games’ and ‘This Must Be My Exit’ before the last spike of ‘gb/ol h/nf’. With the Prince Daddy boys singing along from the side of the stage all night, it wasn’t surprising (even if it did seem impromptu) that Gregory came out to sing the final bars before inciting a stage invasion. The optimist will see this as camaraderie, the cynic as Gregory stealing some of Lilitri’s thunder; whichever side of the fence you find yourself on, you’ll be unable to deny the pure joy of the moment. And at the end of the day, that unadulterated, overwhelming sense of delight is what we all crave from music. Something that, safe to say, was in no short supply on the night.