Review: Hot Water Music rock their long-awaited return to London

The band played their first overseas show since 2012 at London’s Electric Ballroom last month.

They followed up their London date with shows in Cologne, Berlin and Munich, all in support of the release their latest effort Light It Up.

Discussing the shows, bassist Jason Black had said: “It’s been FAR too long since we’ve been overseas. The UK and Germany are 2 of our favourite places to play, and we’ve been lucky enough to experience really amazing shows and support from the folks in both spots for a long time. Needless to say, we’re happy to finally be making our way back!”

With support from The Flatliners and Tim Barry, the show promised to be one of the most exciting shows in this year’s gigging calendar.

Canadian punks The Flatliners open the shindig with an energetic set. The band just released their latest studio album Inviting Light via Dine Alone Records last year. Kicking their set off with recent single Hang My Head The Flatliners brought the venue to a boil. “We’ll be back three more times this summer to keep taps on that royal baby, making sure it’s a good royal baby” vocalist Chris Cresswell reassures the audience. In fact, the band will be supporting New Jersey punks The Gaslight Anthems on their 10th anniversary shows in July as well as supporting Pennsylvania punk quartet The Menzingers at their one-off London show at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in August. Wherever you catch these guys, it will without a doubt be a kick-ass punk show.

Former vocalist of Virginia-based punk rock band Avail, Tim Barry, takes things back down a notch with his folk punk solo performance. Giving everyone a minute to breathe, Tim starts his set off with the fittingly titled Slow Down. Throughout his set he continuously tells inspiring tales of friends in prison with Dog Bumped or about leaving a shitty job to find what you love and do that. But nothing gives us goosebumps quite like the protest song that is Prosser’s Gabriel. “I want to see statues in the city I live in that aren’t rich white men, I want to see statues of those who built the city I live in with their hands and their blood.” Barry calls out before launching into a heart-wrenching performance of a story of one of America’s darkest hours in history.

Five long years – there is nothing like seeing a band you haven’t seen live in years. In the past five years Hot Water Music have been busy with solo projects and spending time with their families. Then, last year, they got back in the studio to release Light It Up via Rise Records.

They kick off their one-off UK show at Camden’s Electric Ballroom with a throwback to 2002’s Remedy and 2001’s A Flight And A Crash. And it will be the old tracks that stay in the foreground for the evening, with a total of six track off the band’s 2002 release Caution. Not many bands would let their new album take a backseat after not having toured for this long. But here’s where Hot Water Music are different. The focus is on delivering a brilliant show, and not once does the band let up during their 21-track set.

With The Flatliner’s vocalist Chris on double guitarist duties tonight, the band deliver an hour and a half of punk rock goodness. New singles Bury Your Idols and Never Going Back go down an absolute treat with the crowd and fit right into the set.

They finish off with one of their most popular tracks – Trusty Chords off of 2002’s Caution. A song that is quintessentially Hot Water Music. Its punk roots, melodic vocals and high-energy chorus make for the perfect shout-your-heart-out moments and who wouldn’t want a little circle pit to go with it?!

But if you thought this show couldn’t get any better, you were sorely mistaken. Hot Water Music concluded their triumphant return to the UK with a cover of Avail’s Simple Song with help from Tim Barry and an iconic cover of New Jersey punk institution the Bouncing Souls and their anthem True Believers. 

Fact is, Hot Water Music remind us why we love punk so much and have us hoping that we won’t have to wait another five years to see them again.