Dundee foursome The Hazey Janes have had much success north of the border, supporting Snow Patrol and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci amongst others, playing this year’s T in the Park and headlining their hometown’s Christmas festival. This gig in Brick Lane’s cool, compact 93 Feet East was the sole non-Scottish gig on their autumn schedule, a worthwhile detour to the capital.
Having heard their summery self-titled mini album we were expecting an evening of laidback guitar pop peppered with shimmery harmonies and that’s what we got, but we were also able to see that the Hazey Janes are a band perfectly comfortable with producing a far bigger sound when the mood takes them.
Support came from Birmingham cock rockers The Getaways and the ’80s influenced trio Red Pony. The former attempted to compensate for their bottom of the bill status by playing with the volume cranked up to stomach-pulsating levels; Red Pony however were a far more agreeable outfit. With a shirt, specs and tie clad frontman who seemed to have stepped right off the cover of Douglas Coupland’s Microserfs, they were smart, sparky and undeniably retro without being overly derivative.
On taking to the stage the Hazey Janes swept straight into After All, the bright, catchy opening track from eponymous debut. Composed of three blokes and one girl, Liam Brennan, Andrew Mitchell, and siblings Alice and Matthew Marra, their songs frequently rely on their three part harmonies to give their lyrics a lift. However they’re capable of packing more of a punch than the six tracks on their new release suggest, and later in the set they upped the tempo to winning effect with a succession of assured, guitar driven numbers, a sound far away from the Nick Drake song from which they take their name.
Confidently occupying the front of the small stage, Liam Brennan takes main vocal duties while the others back him up. Alice Marra, the band’s sole female member, looks equally happy up front, her smile shining from beneath a thick, primary school fringe, her voice bringing a pleasant texture to the harmonies. It’s a shame she didn’t have more to do, as she’s got a cool, distinctive look and it would have been nice to hear a female voice given a greater role in the proceedings. A strong live act, The Hazey Janes are not exactly original, far from it in fact, but they have a sweet upbeat sound that it’s hard not to like.