For an encore Barnes and Trost decided to mingle with the crowd, and shouting something about “who needs electricity” played Portland Town in the centre of a rapt, admiring circle.
A Hawk and a Hacksaw – Ekko, Utrecht,14/06/07
Sometimes life can be oh so sweet. Not only did the sun shine prodigiously on our shopping expedition to Utrecht, and not only yours truly pick up a Soft Boys live LP (on original vinyl) and Billy Childish but that evening we were royally entertained by the wonder that is Hawk and a Hacksaw in what is becoming my favourite venue in Holland, the Ekko.
For those who are unacquainted with Hawk and a Hackasaw, they are duo from New Mexico namely Jeremy Barnes, (ex Neutral Milk Hotel) who sings and plays accordion and Heather Trost who plays fiddle. Hawk’s music is in the main inspired by their wanderings in Hungary and Romania, with the odd folk song thrown in. You may think all this sounds terribly earnest and authentic, but let me assure you, however reflective the records are, when playing live, Hawk get down to their task with a ferocious amount of energy. And a great deal of noise. And gratifyingly the audience didn’t seem to be the dreadful “authentic Eastern European folk” crowd (believe me this phenomenon exists in Holland, middle aged weekend gypsies from the wealthy suburbs). No, it was a generous, youngish crowd - maybe the Neutral Milk Hotel connections had something to do with it.
Onto the music. The tracks I recognised (a difficult thing given the nature of the genre) sounded more experimental live, groovy even; if I can be allowed such a phrase… The Sparrow and In the River were fantastic and increasingly frenzied work outs. I tell you, for a set up of an accordion, fiddle and a pedal bass drum, Hawk are bloody loud.
For an encore Barnes and Trost decided to mingle with the crowd, and shouting something about “who needs electricity” played Portland Town in the centre of a rapt, admiring circle. A tremendous night out. Catch them live if you can.