Review: Hadouken! at Concorde 2, Brighton – 16/10/12

Despite receiving critical recognition early in their career and winning awards as far back as 2008, Hadouken! have begun re-introducing themselves – notably playing gigs such as “HMV Next Big Thing” in February, after a quiet couple of years. Now, as they tour the country playing the same circuit of venues as they did years before, it would be far too easy to dismiss the London-based band as being stuck, or worse – going backwards. However on the opening night of their current UK tour, they crushed the cynics and made their audience believe in the positivity of their future.

Walking onto the stage of Brighton‘s Concorde 2 for the fourth time in their career, there must have been a sense of déjà vu for Hadouken!. Opening up with ‘Rebirth‘ was an appropriate choice. “Once again, we start again” they sung, showing that the band are self-aware of the changes since their move to Ministry of Sound records last year. Following on from ‘Rebirth‘ was ‘M.A.D.’, during which the crowd were cocooned in the re-awakened atmosphere from the band’s last sell-out Brighton gig in 2010. As one fan shouted, “More old school shit”, the band’s new material looked in danger of being over-looked. Thankfully, as the show progressed, their new sounds were also received positively.

Although the crowd’s initial reaction to the unreleased ‘Levitate‘ was muted in comparison to the claps for “old school shit” such as ‘Get Smashed Gate Crash‘, the unfamiliar song was soon met with an abundance of energy at its chorus. The new song then merged into ‘Mic Check‘ with ease; Hadouken! have evolved but they have not changed species. Continuing to blend the ‘old’ and the new, the band juxtaposed their latest single ‘Bad Signal with the first song they ever played at the venue in 2007 – ‘That Boy That Girl‘.

Remembering their debut performance at the Concorde 2, frontman James Smith reminisced about heading to the beach and skinny-dipping after the show. There was a sense of nostalgia in the air, but Hadouken! seem to enjoy their present as much as they did their past. Before advising fans not to go swim in the sea due to the cold autumnal weather, Smith asked the crowd who was in attendance five years ago. A large amount waved their hands but an equally loud cheer was heard when he asked who were Hadouken! virgins.

Speaking to the audience, Smith made it clear that there were no “brownie points” for those who liked Hadouken! early. The well-paced set-list of popular songs and new material entertained both diehards and casual listeners. It didn’t matter whether you were there for your fourth time as a fan or your first time as your friend’s plus one – as long as you had a good time and with the energetic performance Hadouken! gave, there was no reason not to enjoy yourself.


INTERVIEW: “Hadouken! Talk Touring, Collaborations and New Material