It was a triumphant homecoming for The Hard Aches at the Gov last night, playing in support of their freshly minted sophomore album, Mess.

Performing to a packed house of loyal fans, the set was a pleasing mix of the old and the new, with a buoyant energy about the room. It’s a good sign when the crowd is even singing along to the new material. With Mess, The Hard Aches have produced their best work yet, and it is pleasing that this material stands up so well in the live context.

01 The Hard Aches @ The Gov 14th April 2018_(c)kaycannliveshots_11Opening up with a double dose from the new record before launching into some older stuff, the duo were in fine form and clearly enjoying themselves, as were the crowd.

With finely honed song-construction, Ben David’s guitar work is commanding and perfectly complemented by Alex Upton’s probing rhythms on the drums. Meanwhile David’s vocals carry an emotional resonance that’s just right for the material.

This band can sure get a crowd pumping with big wall of sound sound and incendiary  rhythms. But there are also some real dynamics to this material, with some very affecting quieter moments in the show, providing real light and shade.

01 The Hard Aches @ The Gov 14th April 2018_(c)kaycannliveshots_19Recent single, ‘Happy’ was brought to life with support act, Antonia Susan (filling in for Camp Cope’s Georgia Maq, who performs on the album) reappearing to join the duo on stage to share vocals and fill out the sound with some acoustic guitar.

The Hard Aches are also an act who care about the welfare of their fans, and it was pleasing to see them call out the aggression of certain young male fans.

Mention should also be made that this was a very well curated line-up with support acts  Stabbitha & the Knifey Wifeys, Sincerely Grizzly and Antonio & the Lazy Susans all well suited to the bill and adding something to the show.

02 Antonia & The Lazy Suzans @ The Gov 14th April 2018_(c)kaycannliveshots_9

It really was a great night of power rock. This tour marks a new highpoint for The Hard Aches and we will watch with interest to see what this hard working band does next.

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Reviewed by Matthew Trainor

Photos by Kay Cann