Pacing menacingly around Think Tank’s stage on Friday night was Lewis Duffin, front-man of London via Portsmouth 5 piece, Hotel Lux. Replacing the biting cold of storm Dennis outside with their biting and witty lyrics, Hotel Lux hyped up the crowd all throughout their ten-song set.
Support for Hotel Lux came in the form of two bands. Swears and Legss. Swears are the Middlesbrough based alt-rock 4-piece who find influence in grunge, doom, punk and pop. Legss, who are touring with Hotel Lux and played their first gig outside of London on Friday, are the four-piece spoken word band who have a lot to say. With witty lyrics that seem more like poetry than songs, they blended in perfectly with headliners Hotel Lux.
Named after a communist safe house, Hotel Lux are the band who aren’t afraid to venture into odious corners when it comes to the subjects of their songs. Politically charged, saturnine lyrics over dramatic beats, fitting Hotel Lux into one genre feels next to impossible. There are heavy doses of post-punk with underlying notes of ska. Think Half Man Half Biscuit meets The Specials combined with droning spoken vocals.
Instrumentally, the five-piece was next to flawless. Particularly guitarist, keyboard player and backing vocalist Sam Coburn who may be the actual king of multitasking.
First up on their setlist (which, by the way, was written in biro on the back of a torn-up box of Stella Artois), was “Eddie’s Gaff”. “Eddie’s Gaff” has yet to be released but carries Hotel Lux’s signature sound.
“Berlin Wall,” the second song of the night was one of the songs which stood out the most to me. “Berlin Wall” was catchy, and I could almost imagine Terry Hall providing vocals to the instrumentals of the song.
More upbeat than the previous songs was “English Disease,” a song offering up a witty commentary of English pub culture. “English Disease” tells tales of tinnies, sitting at a bar drinking Stella Artois, and frittering away money on the horses… and Hotel Lux gave a ‘Stella’ performance of this tune. Contrary to the majority of the songs it had a bouncy hook.