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Goldsmiths' Official Student Magazine

Live review: HAWWX & Cryptic Street

1 November 2018
A glitter sheet backdrop, some blow up palm trees and two badass girl bands. Sound good enough for a Friday night? The Five Bells thought so, hosting an all-female line up on Halloween weekend...

Classic rock band HAWWX fully committed to the spooky festivities with an abundance of face-paint, all black, ripped, mesh materials and a sparkly mask adorned by the bassist. The four-piece began their show with a hard rock build that had everyone zombie-like approaching the stage. That is, until it became evident that the lead singer’s mic was not switched on.  Fortunately, they revived the awkward false start with a tight rhythm section which switched seamlessly into Rapper’s Delight by The Sugar Hill Gang.

The night was a whirlwind of stage delights, lyrics like “I don’t exist for your pleasure” gave the audience something to sing along to whilst reminding them that this band owns fun and defiant, feminist lyrics. The most memorable moment was when the lead guitarist and frontwoman came down from the stage and cemented everyone’s hypnotic attention with an ethereal conversation from their carefully manipulated strings. ‘A Great Gig in the Sky’-esque eight-minute song ended the set which yielded a very committed crowd of synchronised head banging and yells of “One more song!”.

Honestly, I was wishing they could have indulged us with another tune but when Maltese band Cryptic Street took the stage I was more than appeased. The transition from classic rock to punk/garage rock was a little tough but by the second song the lead singer’s vocals became clearer and were even a little reminiscent of Karen O. She bounced around the stage in what I can only describe as a fury-full dance with lyrics like “faster, faster, faster”.

The real highlight was the singer and guitarist’s ons-stage relationship: singing into each other’s faces, dancing with each other and just having a ball.  Obviously, not timid of any innovation the guitarist took to using a violin bow over her pick at one point and somehow the unexpectedness and accurate playing meant, it completely worked. The foursome created an enticingly thrilling atmosphere, the lead singer jumping on the bass drum at one point to sing, well yell, at the drummer.

Tunes like ‘Be a Man’ and ‘Feeling Like S**t’ showed their ability to climb up a wall of sound and slide back down the other side in a synchronised diminuendo impressive for such a young band. A must listen to tune from the night had to be their single ‘Let’s Go Suki’, which boasts categorically direct lyrics, encapsulating their punk origins.

The night ended very abruptly as is the way with pub gigs, licenses and just running late but both bands managed to convert the local footy pub into a youthful punk rock venue. The promoters Get In Her Ears describe themselves as “Promoting & supporting women/non-binary people in music!”. The bands they booked reflected these desires in their music with frank but sincere lyrics and energy.  I can now recommend all parties involved in this wonderful evening with utmost sincerity.


Words, Briony Pickford – @briony_pickford

Images, John Mo Photography