Thursday, April 06, 2006

Hard To Beat Band Burns Up The Phoenix

Hard-Fi, the darlings of the UK indie rock scene, made their hugely anticipated return to Toronto last night at the Phoenix Concert Theatre. And in their hour and a half set, these kids proved they are not just hype.

Swaggering on to stage to the intro music of Supertramp's "School", it was clear from the start this night would be about breaking rules and resisting complacency. Frontman Richard Archer's opening "We're from Staines, west of London in the UK. A place we had to get the fuck out of!" echoed through the entire show in lyrics that paint a picture of restless youth growing up in the bland setting of suburban London.

Reminiscent of The Jam and The Clash, Hard-Fi have a lot of fun growling at a society that has become complacent and sterile. Songs like "Stars of CCTV", "Cash Machine", "HardTo Beat" and "Working for the Weekend" infuse upbeat Reggae, Ska and Motown themes and rhythms with hard-edged angry guitars. And like a young Joe Strummer, Archer staggers, jerks, and sways around the stage constantly goading the audience, challenging them to break from their societal confines and really have a good time.

Hard-Fi's show itself is like a triumphant response to the question "How do you alleviate boredom?" The answer being something like "Get off your lazy ass do something about it!" And that's exactly what Hard-Fi do.