HOMESHAKE + DJ Taye @ The Hare & Hounds, Birmingham, UK – 22nd May 2019

Review and photography by Robert Barrett

It’s been six years since Peter Sagar aka HOMESHAKE released his first cassette to the world. His reputation as a master of the chill wave sound has continued to grow with each of the four albums released since then. Returning to the Hare & Hounds for the second time, I was intrigued to see how his new album ‘Helium’ would translate to the live setting.

Warming up the stage was a surprisingly long and energetic DJ set from DJ Taye. Not complacent with just keeping the music going, he livened up the set by switching between DJing, rapping and dancing for over an hour and a half. It was an impressive mix, although he still struggled to inject life into the crowd, who seemed as jet lagged as he was.

Homeshake slowly shuffled onto the stage ten minuets after the end of DJ Taye’s set. The laid back nature of their songs echoed in the band’s approach, as they slowly worked into the groove of ‘Early’. The set leant heavily on new album Helium, an album that sees Peter strip back his sound even further that previous records. Although it works well on record, I felt the new tracks lacked enough character and energy when played live. The vocals are submerged in effects, meaning it’s hard even generate a minor singalong.

Only a few tracks from his older albums made appearances, when they did they stood out as instant highlights. The warped synth line of  ‘Call Me Up’ seemed to get the biggest response from packed but mostly static crowd. The sultry ‘Give It To Me’ had bodies swaying and couples embracing, reminding them of many a romantic night listening to their Spotify playlists. The band were playing the material as best they could, but it just didn’t seem to connect to the crowd as it should have.

After a quick pitched down chat to the crowd, the gig was over. Once again Peter also mentioned that he was very jet lagged. Perhaps the quick tour schedule had taken its toll. However it’s not to say it wasn’t an enjoyable gig, there were noticeable highlights in the set and people seemed happy enough when it finished. I look forward to catching him live again, hopefully this time he will have caught up on his sleep beforehand.

(The original version of this article was first published on Gigjunkies

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