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Hockey
IN PURE mathematical terms, Hockey are at most, three catchy beats away from transforming into the next must-see, must-listen to, must-love, must-adore band of the year.

It's a tried and tested formula. The good looking, yet geeky group, the so trendy it hurts fashion, the hype of the mp3 blogs and truly addictive remixes are blended with that secret ingredient - a roster of 'three minute', infectious pop singles.  Shake well and gig the world from Sydney to Belfast in one intense month, then wait.

This is how Hockey arrive in Belfast, in the middle of a whirlwind international tour - you can almost feel their momentum building.

Taking to the stage in front of a packed Spring and Airbrake crowd, the Portland four-piece have temporarily become five with session keyboardist Ryan Dolliver joining the group for the tour. And just like their new-wave peers Passion Pit, the live performance is polished, tight and without much fault.

Kicking the night off with 'Work', front man Ben Grubin twisted and posed on stage, only pausing the odd time to fix his dangling feather earring. But for this reviewer, this regimented, near calculated act took the edge off what should be on paper a no holds bar, new-wave ho-down.

'Learn to Lose', '3am Spanish', 'Song Away' were all met by an up-for-it Saturday night crowd who've already been saturated by the highly successful debut album - Mind Chaos. It was just a shame the performance lacked the real feverous, spontaneous atmosphere the songs
and punters were crying out for.

Curse The City and floor filler Too Fake managed to raise a few pulses, and ladies man Grubin (he's a looker) worked the female contingent with almost military precision - If only he could get as excited about his music.

So for a group with a year of expectation and hype behind them, it's the coming 6 months which will see Hockey reach their tipping point and which way they tip really depends on what else they have in their pop locker. But the lukewarm response new tracks 'Rebels Marry Young' and 'DJ' received left this reviewer asking 'is this it?' from the band many touted as the next Strokes.

Support was provided by the ever present and always consistent Ed Zealous.

Keith Anderson

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Gig Details
Venue: The Spring & Airbrake
Location: Belfast
Date: 27/2/2010


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