AUSTRALIAN band Hands Like Houses performed at Manchester Academy 3 last night (May 25). Quays News entertainment reporter Oliver Mackenzie went along…

“It’s better to get it right than to get it done”. Hands Like Houses frontman Trenton Woodley was quoted in regards to the release of the band’s latest album ‘Dissonants‘.

Two years have passed since the hardcore outfit released their last studio work ‘Unimagine and Reimagine‘, with the group focusing on live performances in the meantime.

As a band they have been the Atletico Madrid of hardcore music, always desperate to push through to the top tier of the genre, but always in the shadow of others.

Perhaps the reason for this is that throughout their career they have always toured with someone, whether it be A Day to Remember, Pierce the Veil or most recently Enter Shikari. And whilst supporting those groups gives you some of the best experience around, it’s not the same as being the headline act yourself.

Of course no act can expect to go from performing in a garage straight to headlining Download, but you can only stay in that ‘solid support’ role for so long.

And that is probably the best thing that came out of last night’s gig at the Manchester Academy; the fact that they have earned the right to headline a major tour of their own.

It’s a moment as beautiful as it is rare when you see a gig like this; when you see a band come of age. However, that moment has probably been coming since the release of ‘Dissonants‘.

It should come as no surprise then that the highlights of tonight come from their latest work, ‘I Am’ being a particular favourite amongst the atmospheric crowd as it has been since it was teased in March last year; whilst Woodley’s vocals during ‘Colourblind‘ were just as superb live as they are in the studio.

Another positive on display is that Hands Like Houses continue their reputation for putting on very tight shows; you get a sense of professionalism from the group. Their not a group that raves in a bin whilst crowd surfing a la Rou Renoylds, and don’t need to be. The music is the star of the show rather than the group themselves.

However, the main thing the Australian band have going for them right now is that they have some of the most easily transferable studio to live music in the post hardcore world.

This can be a polarising point since on the one hand you get to see Hands Like Houses at their technical and melodic best, however can leave some fans wanting more.

It’s a real chocolate vs vanilla thing, if you look at Enter Shikari at the other end of the live music spectrum, their live performances often deviate wildly from the studio work it’s based on, so you always see something new each time, but the drawback is that it’s not often what you quite expect.

The only criticism would be that it would have been nice to hear more songs from ‘Dissonants’. The band have really struck gold with this album, it’s one of the best albums to come out of the wider rock scene in a long time.

Despite half the songs last night being from that album, because ‘I Am‘ and ‘Colourblind’ were the first two songs up, and ‘New Romantics’ and ‘Momentary‘ were shifted to the rear, it created a sense that their older works were almost an afterthought as they were left awkwardly in the middle, there was nothing wrong with the performances of them. However, the set list pacing could have been better by alternating between songs from ‘Dissonants‘ and those from ‘Unimagine and Reimagine‘ etc.

Nonetheless, Hands Like Houses are a band going places, after producing their ‘revolver’ and finally getting a long overdue world tour of their own, momentum is with the act; momentum that will probably resonate through the remainder of their global adventure.

By Oliver Mackenzie

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