No Hot Ashes @ Exeter Cavern, 13.11.19
Having only recently started listening to No Hot Ashes’ music, I had perhaps strangely high expectations for this gig. The band’s almost indescribable sound is captivating, seemingly mixing funk instrumentals with the forceful vocals of punk, and something I knew would be even more impressive live.
The night started with two support acts, Harry Mason and Paradigm, who managed to breathe some life into the otherwise unfortunately sparse venue, certainly catching the attention of the people who did attend. However, with the introduction of No Hot Ashes to the stage, people seem to come out of nowhere to gather a fairly decent crowd for an early evening midweek gig.
Ultimately, gigs at Cavern seem to have a very informal atmosphere, particularly with its small size and large bar area which leads to many people enjoying the music with pints in hand. Indeed, No Hot Ashes was no exception to this. However, throughout their set, they produced such unwavering energy that, by the end, it seemed that the whole crowd were dancing.
No Hot Ashes gave a performance that was beyond my expectations – their catchy guitar riffs came to life as did their raw vocals. What took me by surprise was how they managed to get the audience laughing in between their songs, with their offhand comments to each other and their introductions to the songs. They seemed to be enjoying the gig as much as we were, dancing around the stage and putting a seemingly impossible amount of liveliness into the performance. In particular, their aggressive guitar playing was fun to watch and, indeed, hard to look away from, adding to the tough aesthetic of the band.
Gigs at Cavern are a strange experience, particularly for someone like me who is used to the music scene of Bristol, where avid concerts goers will pack out venues of a similar small size, with many never even having heard of the band before. In Exeter, there doesn’t seem to be the same mass optimism about the quality of up-and-coming indie bands. Instead, bands can expect a small but devoted crowd of local fans who have, at the very least, had a trawl through their Spotify page before buying a ticket to their gig. No Hot Ashes were a good example of this; many in the crowd knew most, if not all, the lyrics to their songs and there was even a bit of a fight over getting the set list at the end (which I won).
Ultimately, No Hot Ashes are an example of the fun, unique music that you can hear at small venues such as Cavern and it is a shame that more people don’t think to come. The spirit of the band managed to get people dancing and enjoying themselves to the point where you forgot the dancefloor was only half full. However, No Hot Ashes are a group that will undoubtedly benefit from playing to bigger crowds and bigger venues as their huge energy and stage presence can reach much further than halfway to the back of Cavern’s dancefloor.
Photos and Graphics Source: Sonic PR