LIVE: Framing Hanley @ The Underworld 5/11/14 ★★★★☆

ris 17

ris 4On a typically freezing November evening, Framing Hanley break their four year absence and grace London with their presence once again.

Openers Reaper In Sicily, hailing from Aberdare and with enthusiasm like there was no tomorrow, were instantly a crowd favourite. Having headlined a show at the The Black Heart a year earlier to half a dozen people they played to significantly more tonight – and deservedly so.  They did their job and warmed the crowd up nicely, they deliver a mighty punch with their music and combined with beautiful melodies they had the entire venue hooked on their every lyric. You can’ t help falling in love with the boys as they just exude genuine delight at being able to play their music together onstage and give you their all. The band have had a turbulent past with lost record deals and departing members, but after their comeback they have been building up the support they deserve and are on their way to big things.

ris 4Norwich’s Hours took over from Reaper In Sicily, but to a more muted response. While Rhys Bernado (Reaper In Sicily’s frontman) had won over the crowd from the off, Hours frontman Ian Bidle had to work a lot harder. Though with their sophisticated sound and alluring melodies there wasn’t  long to wait before the audience were as taken with them as they were the previous band, and their genuine gratitude that people had taken the time to come and check them out was so heart warming they left the stage with hordes of new fans.

ris 31

Framing Hanley kicked off their highly anticipated set, to a room fraught with excitement, with new single ‘Criminal’, and received an astounding reaction for their efforts. There was a good mix of the old and the new in this set to keep everyone pleased after the four year absence, while frontman Kenneth Nixon has his crowd interaction perfected to such a degree that this was an unforgettable night for many.  He sang directly to fans and their cameras ensuring that they felt directly included in their performance, and he was not alone in this as guitarists Brandon Wooten and Ryan Belcher did an equally fantastic job in engaging the crowd.

ris 24Nixon spoke of growing up in the sticks of Nashville and being honoured to be able to play in the likes of London, and rounded their set off with what clearly the crowds favourite – ‘Hear Me Now’. The thundering response and the volume and passion with which the lyrics were bellowed back at the band made it feel certain that such a long absence will not be repeated. Framing Hanely have a fan base strong enough (and loud enough) to hopefully encourage the band to take this very warm welcome and build on it – we hope to be seeing them back in the UK very soon.