While feeling slightly artificial, The Hara's raucous performance was certainly one to remember.
On a wet Sunday evening, ‘North West’ alt rock trio The Hara arrived in Southampton as part of a bonus run of shows for their ‘Survival Mode’ tour, supporting their debut album of the same name which was released earlier this year. Despite the miserable end-of-week mood outside, the lads firmly rocked The Joiners to its core, providing one of my most memorable gig experiences this year.
First up were West Yorkshire group As Sirens Fall. Firmly setting the emo mood for the night, the makeup-heavy four piece rocked their way through a thrilling slice of post-hardcore. Theatrical frontman Mikey Lord’s vocals were a particular highlight, and managed to stir up a very lively crowd for an opening band.
The stars of tonight’s show, however, were the now proudly independent The Hara – and they made that very clear from the offset. Furnishing the stage with props and television screens displaying mood-setting video clips, it’s clear that the three-piece are more than ready to take their live show to much bigger venues. Frontman Josh Taylor could hardly be contained within The Joiners’ walls, frequently climbing on the overhead rigging and moshing with the crowd. This did feel unnatural at times, with a crew member bringing on a box for Taylor to reach the rigging, but the sheer energy it brought to the venue is unmatched by anything else I’ve seen in 2023. Transforming songs such as ‘We All Were Black’ and ‘Die in the City’ into raucous live anthems in a way that cannot be captured in a studio recording, Taylor had the crowd truly in the palm of his hands.
Covering a variety of rock genres from nu-metal throwback ‘Off the Edge’ to the hook-laden, indie rock-esque ‘Friends’, guitarist Zack Breen and drummer Jack Kennedy were exceptional throughout. As expected, both guitar and drum solos were front and centre throughout, even teasing an upcoming song through an ‘impromptu’ jam session. Perhaps unexpectedly given his immense stage presence, but unfortunately Taylor’s vocals let an otherwise stirling gig down. Sounding almost like an overly-edgy Yungblud parody at times but without the range, his nasal half-talking, half-singing style became grating towards the end of the band’s hour-long set, making several songs sound indistinguishable.
Although The Hara’s 2023 touring has now concluded, news on future gigs can be seen on their social media pages. Check out the video for most their recent single ‘Autobiography’ here: