Review: Hatchie at the O2 Guildhall, Southampton

Arriving in Southampton for the first time as part of an eleven date UK tour, Hatchie had the unenviable task of providing main support for what was a homecoming show for The Vaccines’ frontman Justin Hayward-Young.

For homecoming shows it can incredibly difficult for support artists to be able to make their mark due to the fact that the vast majority of the crowd will have only come to see the headlining artist back in their hometown. As a result, it can usually be very difficult to create any engagement or drive interest, instead having to put up with incessant chatter in the background of every track played.

With an understated set and a relatively relaxed approach to stage entry, this threatened to be the case for the 25-year old Australian from Brisbane.

However, once the jangling guitars and cascading synths began filling the O2 Guildhall, those that had got to the venue early to establish prime position for the headliners duly paid attention and took notice of the performance on stage. Playing a modest set of half a dozen tracks, Hatchie opened her portion of the show with ‘Sugar & Spice’, the title track of her debut EP which was released in the summer of last year.

As she made her way through the remaining five songs, what was clear was that she has been able to identify her sound and comfort zone very early on in her solo career, a time when a lot of artists will attempt to do too much to prove versatility, but in reality is to the detriment of their identity. Moving away from the poppier sounds of her time as the vocalist and bassist of the band Babaganouj and the pure indie sound of the now disbanded Go Violets, Hatchie has developed a moodier, more layered sound which certainly sounds more accomplished and well-rounded than perhaps her previous endeavours were.

I think to appreciate her music fully in a live setting, you would want to see her performing in smaller, more intimate venues in the mould of The Joiners or the Deaf Institute in Manchester, where she would be better placed to make her mark on the stage and create a stronger bond with a crowd; but that’s not to say that her sound would not be more welcome in these larger venues in the future once she has constructed a larger setlist and discography. But nonetheless, the fact that a band as successful here in the UK as The Vaccines have asked Hatchie to travel halfway across the world to provide the main support for their tour proves how highly she is being regarded in the industry across multiple continents.

In a difficult situation, supporting a band where the entire crowd had come to see their hometown boy, Hatchie proved that her music is more than worthy of playing stages up and down the UK and is destined to be headlining her own tours the world over in the very near future. As soon as she releases a debut album, be sure to check your local venues for her name – she’ll be worth seeing.

Hatchie was supporting The Vaccines in Southampton at the O2 Guildhall on Sunday 3rd February.


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