Review | Hallan at The Wedgewood Rooms: 'Just the right blend of swagger and attitude'

Long-time Guide favourites Fake Empire open proceedings this evening, and their dark, brooding indie is as impressive as ever.

Monday, 13th September 2021, 9:10 pm
Hallan at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea, September 10, 2021

Frontman Les Black’s bass is on particularly thunderous form tonight, while one has to wonder how much longer his partner-in-rhythm, the rather pregnant Rebecca Bellinger is going to be able to fit behind her kit. Congratulations Rebecca!

They’re followed by Slant, an intriguing bunch with two frontwomen.

The Brighton-based band describe themselves as melding glam rock with riot-grrrl energy, and it’s apt.

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Their guitarist coaxes an incredible array of sounds from his instrument, while the two singers/keys players fizz with attitude.

At times the rawness of the vocals begins to grate, but when they dial it down a touch, it’s clear there’s a lot of talent up there – one of those frontwomen, Katy Smith, also performs as an acclaimed Kate Bush tribute act.

And when they unleash some four part harmonies things suddenly click into place.

Definitely ones to watch.

And so to headliners Hallan for something of a triumphant hometown show. As drummer Adam Mills tells us halfway through their set, last time they played on home turf, pre-pandemic, it was to about 30 people.

This time it’s to about 10 times that number.

Frontman Conor Clements has just the right blend of swagger and attitude – and a clear faith in the band’s abilities.

Their sound drops all the modish post-punk references, with hints of Joy Division and The Fall, plus the more current Idles, but there’s enough personality coming through to make it their own.

The time spent over the past year-plus building and populating their own universe – emerging now not only through song, but also in a self-produced zine to accompany July’s debut EP Reporting Live From The Living Room Floor – was clearly well spent.

The 6Music playlisted single Modern England helped break the band to a wider audience and it’s a high point tonight – provoking something of a mosh down the front.

After so long unable to play, it’s glorious to see bands like Hallan finally realising their rewards and reaping the pent-up dividends of their frustrations.