Hard-Fi | 01.22.06

The wait for an encore wasn’t long, but would’ve been entirely worth waiting hours for, given their renditions of their contemplative title track and “Living for the Weekend,” yet another beat-heavy tune that would feel right at home on any nightclub DJ’s playlist.

 

The Metro, Chicago 

Although only drawing something of a modest crowd, you’d think that England’s Hard-Fi were playing a sold-out arena instead of the moderately sized Metro from the performance they belted out Sunday night. Playing nearly every track from their debut album Stars of CCTV, a group of cockier, more self-satisfied Brits this side of the Rolling Stones or Oasis would be hard to come by. Luckily for them, though, they have the charm, wit, and overall ability to rock the pants off their audience in a way that few others can.

Opening with the light show assisted Brit-pop-meets–Bob Marley anthem “Middle Eastern Holiday,” the crowd responded with a collective roar despite its rather diminutive size. That was then followed up by the chic and brazenly catchy hand clapper “Gotta Reason,” which only further cemented the fact that if it weren’t for their considerable talent, they would’ve all received hearty slaps in the face for such arrogance.

Seemingly unapologetic about their desire to be full-on rock stars, frontman Richard Archer busted out the handheld keyboard for another reggae-like tune, the dramatic break-up number “Better Do Better.” Another light show soon followed with the sexy, guitar-driven dance floor cut “Tied Up too Tight,” which was definitely a highlight of the evening. The night’s big surprise, though, was their cover of the all-too-recent White Stripes hit “Seven Nation Army,” which they made completely their own to the point that the song was practically unrecognizable, injecting some rather inventive mirror ball–friendly beats into the garage rock tune.

Just before their super-stylish U.K. hit “Cash Machine,” Archer announced with pride that they had just gotten word that their album just went to number one in England, and that the band was going to get appropriately smashed to celebrate the occasion after the show; this had the effect of making their performance of a song about being broke and generally unlucky in life seem rather odd. The band ended their proper set with another stellar disco-inspired cut, “Hard to Beat.” The wait for an encore wasn’t long, but would’ve been entirely worth waiting hours for, given their renditions of their contemplative title track and “Living for the Weekend,” yet another beat-heavy tune that would feel right at home on any nightclub DJ’s playlist.

Whether they’re playing to an audience of 40 or 4,000, it seems to make little difference to Hard-Fi. They already know they’re rock stars—and from their self-assured struts and fantastic songs, it’s hard to argue.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply