HotWax and The Rills hit London for Dork’s Night Out’s Home & Away

Two bands. Two cities. Dork’s Home & Away hits London for the first of two shows showcasing some of new music’s hottest new talents.

Words: Ali Shutler.
Photos: Frances Beach.

HotWax’s Tallulah Sim-Savage turns to face the crowd, smirks and launches into the fuzzy defiance of unreleased track ‘High Tea’. It’s a hammering number that wraps the band’s emotional, surreal storytelling around frantic rock & roll. If we wrote it, we’d be smiling too.

HotWax have always created music for the live show and this year, they’ve really had the chance to put those practice room ambitions to the test. There’s been celebrated performances at The Great Escape, Reading & Leeds and the trio opened for The Strokes at All Point’s East. Next month, they’ll support Royal Blood on their UK tour before following them out to North America. With a mutual love of big, thundering guitar licks, it’s a perfect match but there’s more to HotWax than chunky riffs and heavy breakdowns. Tonight, as they headline the first night of Dork’s Night Out’s Home & Away mini-series at London’s Colours, they look to a vibrant, agile future with a set that pulls heavily from new, unreleased and eclectic, rather than tried and tested turns.

Opening things up are The Rills, who also giddily bounce between styles. Opener ‘Stardog’ is a conversational slab of melodic indie, delivered with a touch of flamboyance, ‘Spit Me Out’ is a gnarled punk track with plenty of colour while upcoming single ‘Bones’ echoes Gorillaz’ cackling ‘Feel Good Inc’. “It’s always scary when you play a new song,” admits guitarist/vocalist Mitch Spencer but the band quickly dive into another newie. Throwing themselves into their 40-minute set, the noise trio only let up for a rose-tinted, slow dance before whipping the crowd into a frenzy once more with the fiery ‘Pyro’.

It takes guts to walk onstage and force the DJ to fade out the sledgehammer riff of Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name Of’ but HotWax know they’ve got plenty of their own. The furious ‘Barbie (Not Yours)’ is snotty and full of venom while the menacing ‘Drop’ is driven by an exhilarating lust for life. There’s a touch of epic rock & roll showboating to in the unrulry breakdowns, the band never shy away from sugary pop while the lyrics cycle between defiance, empowerment and revenge. ‘A Thousand Times’ has hints of Wolf Alice’s surreal, grunge escapism that twists into colourful euphoria that carries through upcoming single ‘Phone Machine’, a twitching, frantic and glorious rock anthem.

HotWax’s 45-minute races by under these different flavours, but the band couldn’t be more assured on stage, diving into the chaos and savouring the beauty. They make music that’s familiar, but still feels fresh and after tonight, it’s easy to see why so many are calling them the most exciting new band in rock. By the time the churning ‘Rip It Out’, a cathartic, party-starting rager, closes out the night, it’s not just Tallulah who’s grinning.