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Published on May 15th, 2015 | by Guest Reviewer

Live Review: We-Are-Z + Ricky Tart at The Art House, Southampton

By Dave Hubble, Southampton 14th May 2015

I confess, I didn’t go out with reviewing in mind. I’d not heard of the band, but the whisper was that they’re good and I fancied something new. But before I get to the main event, the support. Ricky Tart is a plugged-in, gadgeted-up one-man-band-and-poet putting out eclectic songs and spoken word. From penguin factions as a metaphor for religious fundamentalism to fuzzily overdriven beatbox stylings, he’s well worth a look – and he’ll love you for it.

Now to the headliner, We-Are-Z. A frenetic Anglo-French five-piece, they’re hard to describe, but Q Magazine tried and came up with “irresistible wonk-pop a la Devo meets Vampire Weekend”, or as one of the audience said , “a bonkers lovechild of The Cat Empire and Gogol Bordello”. Well, whatever their hybrid origins (I’m sure I heard some XTC in there…), the band’s energy is infectious as they strut their quirky stuff through songs about plastic surgery, overdosing and sort-of-zoos, complete with audience participation. We were all most harmonious – well, almost – and it was easy to forget that we were in an intimate, local venue as they performed like it was Glastonbury with a carpet instead of mud. Their debut single ‘Airbrush’ (that’s the plastic surgery one) could be a festival anthem, ‘Walkaway’ is a more wistful affair, and the rocky ‘A.N.I.M.A.L.’ let the crowd release their inner spirit-creatures via a chorus of whoops, roars, grunts and miaows. Throw in lead vocalist Gabriel’s forays into falsetto and at times, something close to Middle Eastern devotional, and you’ve got a wonderful cocktail that makes you feel sorry for all the poor souls who weren’t there.

What more to say? Well, there are the singles, plus a debut album planned for 2015 which is already on my shopping list, and they can be found dwelling virtually at we-are-z.com. If you’re a gig-goer, check them out and get a fine fix of funky alt-pop/indie-rock – if you’ve got a venue, book ‘em while you can!

We-Are-Z Facebook

Ricky Tart Facebook

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