By Frances Burscough
The HardChargers: Remember the name because these guys are taking the Irish music scene by storm. And believe me, once seen they’re never forgotten.
For a start, the lead singer, Chris Todd, looks like Emile Hirsch’s slightly sexier twin brother. That in itself is enough to make you stop mid-pint and take notice. Add to that the fact that he’s got possibly thee deepest, dirtiest voice since Captain Beefheart, plays guitar like a deranged genius and has the stage presence of a rock legend then maybe you can begin to imagine the impact of their first few chords.
But C’mere…there’s more.
With the backing of one of the best drummers in the business – Bangor’s Richard Hodgen who beats the bejeesus out of every song with everything he can lay his hands on including a smashed-up, banjaxed washboard – as well as the calm, collected and oh-so smooth bassist David Thompson, then what you’ve got is a complete microcosm of incomprable cool.
And it’s not just me who thinks so. They already have a burgeoning fan-base who follow them around N.I and create a buzz in every packed-out venue. The legendary Terri Hooley describe them as “My kind of fecking band” and he certainly knows one when he sees one!
Internationally, they’ve been described as “An innovative and energetic power trio who remain true to the spirit of the blues” (US Blues Revue) and “A hard working innovative band steeped in the blues/rock tradition” (Sunday World)
The HardChargers describe their musical style as raunchy, exciting, provocative and honest, ranging from down-home washboard /resonator/ double bass workouts, to a heady blend of twangy electric blues and roadhouse style rock.
Earlier this month, following on from the success of their “Bumpin’ and Grindin’” EP in Autumn 2011 (“High-octane and close in pitch to those very early Fleetwood Mac records”Blues Matters) – the trio launched a new double A side single on their own record label, Filthy Records, entitled Fine&Filthy and Just Somebody’s Friend.
The opening track Fine and Filthy has got to be one of the most invigorating and vibrant songs you’re likely to hear this year. It’s so quirky and unique even I find it difficult to describe, so here’s the closest analogy I can think of: it’s what might ensue if Jimi Hendrix met Velvet Underground on Muddy Waters’ front porch and then downed a crate of Jack Daniels whilst jamming for a crowd of insatiable sex-crazed groupies.
Yes, that just about sums it up.
I’ve had it on “repeat” in my car for the last week – turned up to 11- and it’s staying put until I load up their next new single.
This is definitely not background music, it’s stop what you’re doing, shut up and dance like an eejit music. And there’ll be plenty of opportunities to do just that in the near future.
The second of their new singles, “Spanner In Your Works” (“a classic power trio workout” Blues Matters Oct 2012) will be released on the 1st July, with live gigs at The Hudson Bar, Belfast, Thursday 4th July and The Goats Toe, Bangor, Saturday 6th July.
For more information, merchandise and upcoming gig details go to www.thehardchargers.co.uk/