Cut Off Your Hands @ Al’s Bar 30/10/2008 [Review by Thom]


Since their last show in Christchurch, Cut Off Your Hands (COYH) have become world famous. Well, nearly. Touring with Foals and Friendly fires is definitely a step toward householdnamism, and signing to over 15 record deals worldwide is just about enough to keep bic biros in business. However, despite touring endlessly around the globe (7 UK tours last year), the group still have their roots.

Last night’s show at Al’s bar was the first from COYH since their nationwide tour with So So Modern. Back then, the group had one EP under their collective belts, and played alongside a then fresh faced and unknown Bang! Bang! Eche! With the release of their debut full length, and a few thousand miles later, COYH were back, and more contemplative than before.

Gig openers ‘The Klap’ were quick to impress with buttoned down shirts, foot-stomp glamour, and an alarmingly large number of people singing to every word. Seeing as the band have almost built their entire look around looking surprised, last night seemed a fitting induction to their new life as the RDU golden children.

After minimal delay, COYH graced the stage opening with an energetic, yet muddy ‘Happy as can be’. A single obviously lost on old fans, yet, like oxygen to the new breed of punters. The song did introduce the band’s new ‘open stage’ policy, a concept usually more at home in real-estate. The crowd claimed the stage with prompting from frontman Nick, opening the stage to a plethora of John Travolta-esque public/self-conscious dancing. The band followed with Turn cold, their latest single and throwback to their early days, before drifting into semi-self indulgent ballad country. While making some ground in justifying the inclusion of these ‘slow’ songs on record, they did little to add to the set. During this dimmer escapade, the crowd left the stage leaving a lone Mark (Tiger Tones frontman) to hold the fort, tackling the singer Nick and knocking out leads. The group did finish strongly, however, with stirring renditions of You and I, Oh Girl and Eyes Closed.

While the gig lacked intensity at times, it is obvious that the group have toured extensively, and are a real unit on stage. While my mum in Auckland still struggles to come to terms with their graphic name, I get the feeling that the name ‘Cut Off Your Hands’ will be on the lips of more than just knife wielding cretins, quicker than you can say “come on stage so people can watch you dance.”