MOTHXR (pronounced Mother) is a 5 piece band from Brooklyn, New York. Their style is a bit of a mix… it has a definite rock edge, thrown together with some 80’s style synth, which is present throughout all of their work.
I was really looking forward to seeing these guys live, but my excitement was slightly marred by the fact that I suspected majority of the crowd were going to be Gossip Girl fans who were there to swoon over the band’s lead singer (Penn Badgley). There were a lot of what I refer to as ‘fan-girls’ there, but the band’s set held up on it’s own so I was able to focus on the music, which after all is what I was there for!
So let me set the scene for you… The Sebright Arms is a nice enough pub in Hackney, their venue area however, resides in the basement… a tiny little basement with a small stage and a corner bar. Ideal for an up and coming indie band.. however when mixed with London’s current humid-heat-wave it equaled a festering sweat box. So there I was clutching my pint of beer hoping to god it would help cool me down (yeah right) when suddenly five men walk out on stage to a rock star welcome. Dressed casually in singlets, jeans and some even sporting caps – they looked like they were ready to get down to business.. this was to be their second and final show in London for this tour of the UK/Europe (their first).
They jumped straight into the music and the room was immediately filled with synth beds and catchy baselines and drum beats courtesy of Larkis, Darren, Jimmy & Simon..then Badgley’s contribution started… his voice, I have to say, is very impressive live. And although he does play guitar on some of the songs, his voice is definitely a worthy 5th instrument to this band. It would be interesting to know if playing Jeff Buckley (in Greetings From Tim Buckley) influenced his singing style, or if it has always been there… his range is scarily good. It sits in well with each song’s arrangement, and really shines live.
Now prior to this gig, I had only heard the three songs they have on their Soundcloud page. So I was curious to see if they could produce an entire set of original material, or if they would throw in a few covers as new bands are want to do. I am pleased to report their entire set was original material, in fact they made a point of thanking the audience for ‘baring with them’ through all this new material. But it was fantastic! All their songs have a similar feel to them, and many have the potential to be expanded… one song in particular that really stood out for me was Black Girl it was a great track, that had the potential to morph into a jam. The musicians were really getting into it, there was head-banging action from Badgley, to the point where I’m sure the front row were getting covered in his sweat (not that some of them would have minded) and needless to say there was a lot of toe-tapping, head nodding coming from the crowd, myself included!
This is a tight band, they clearly love playing together and hold a certain chemistry on stage. It’s always refreshing when a band looks genuinely happy to be up on stage, and these guys were definitely grateful for their audience, claiming on their Instagram page that it was the best gig they’ve ever played.
Their merchandise stand was selling 7′ vinyls with two of their songs – Easy & Victim alas I had no cash on me so I couldn’t purchase one but I spent the entire gig hoping these guys are at least working on a full length album… because from the sounds of last night’s set, it will be well worth a listen!