The Hotelier - Mama Roux's, Birmingham 24/01/2017 (Live Review)

January saw Massachusetts outfit The Hotelier bring their emo pop punk sound and their friends Crying on a UK Tour and Hayley Fearnley Photography caught them live at Birmingham's, Mama Roux's.

After being too busy to attend any gigs for a while, I finally found the time last week to catch The Hotelier on their European Tour with Crying. This was The Hotelier’s first gig in Birmingham and it was also the first night of a set of shows held by Birmingham Promoters for Independent Venue Week 2017. This was definitely one of the most unique venues I’ve ever been to and really showcases what can be done with independent venues that can’t be done with huge arenas. The venue I’m talking about is Mama Roux’s in Digbeth, part of the Rainbow Venues in Birmingham who have a great range of venues with lots of different quirks to them. This particular space looked like something out of a Shakespeare set and I was just waiting for Juliet to pop out of one of the fake windows shouting “Romeo, where for art thou Romeo?”

The opening band for the night was local punk rock band Wood and Nails. As always, there weren’t as many people here to see them play, which is always disappointing but also expected. This being said, there were a lot more people than I’ve seen for many other opening bands on other tours so they must be doing something right! Overall, I feel that the band still seemed like they were getting used to being in front of a live audience but this didn’t affect their performance and they played some catchy songs with some indie hints to them which separated them from every other punk rock band out there at the moment. In between songs the lead singer said he’s not great at witty banter on stage but there were a few comments now and then that made me think they had potential to become more confident in talking to the crowd and interacting with them more. This is something I’d love to see more of from them in future so transitions between songs aren’t so awkward and silent.

Wood and Nails - Mama Roux - 24/01/2017 - Birmingham

Next up was American rock trio Crying. Having never listened to them before, I didn’t know what to expect but they were amazing live and the lead singer Elaiza had so much energy about her. Whilst singing, she would dance around as if she was alone in her bedroom listening to her favourite band and just having fun. It really was lovely to watch and made me feel more connected to the band and kept my attention with them throughout the whole set. Although I believe the usual formation of the band consists of two male members on drums/guitar, during this set a female member took place on the drums, which was really refreshing to see. The female vocals also really added to the music and made everything a little softer and dreamier which matched the vibe of the instruments playing too. The band interacted and spoke with the crowd a lot more, which I always love to see as it makes you feel like they really do appreciate everyone who has taken their time to come along. Part way through, Elaiza also used her platform to speak about the current Trump situation and encouraged people to protest about things and make noise, about that, Brexit or anything they’re unhappy with which was awesome.
Crying - Mama Roux - 24/01/2017 - Birmingham

Headlining the night was of course, The Hotelier who I’ve seen previously play in Nottingham too. Both times they opened with the same song 'An Introduction to the Album' from Home, Like No Place There Is'. However, it is such a perfect song to open with and everyone knows the lyrics so it gets the crowd singing along right from the start and boosts the energy straight away. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right? They then continued on with a mix of songs from both their albums with a few pauses in between songs to have a general chat with the crowd, which as mentioned already, is always enjoyable as you can see their personalities shine through.

By this point, the crowd had built up quite a bit too but the venue was the perfect size and left room for people to move about and explore the merch tables, as well as go upstairs and sit down and watch from the balcony. The band had a good humour about them and even played a song that a birthday boy had requested on twitter not long before which made them feel so much more genuine and caring about their fans. For the encore, the crowd started yelling what they wanted them to play and they took this into account too so it’s great that they can personalise their set list to the audience as I’ve seen some bands that have set songs and won’t play anything outside of those, which is annoying as an audience when you’ve paid for a ticket and travel to see one of your favourite bands!

Overall, the bands provided a great night and Crying and The Hotelier worked well to really engage with the audience and interact with them.

  The Hotelier - Mama Roux - 24/01/2017 - Birmingham


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