Cut Off Your Hands, Barfly

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Auckland quartet Cut Off Your Hands’ singer Nick Johnston has gained himself something of a reputation for onstage wildness, breaking his leg after falling offstage at a London gig – and carrying on anyway. But tonight, aside from whirling around the mic stand, Johnston leaves the antics to his audience as their energetic pop punk drives the crowd into a frenzy.

With his slick side-parting and tailored pastel shirt, Johnston – and his equally smart bandmates – aren’t your average rock stars. Theirs is an apt look for “ Oh Girl”, a sweet romantic pop song steeped in Sixties pop, even down to its innocent lyrics, “ Oh girl, I want to see you tonight/Oh, it’s been days since I held your hand, you know/It feels like years if you understand” delivered with in the smoothly heartfelt style of the era by Johnston.

Their best track “Still Fond” retains this youthful vocal innocence, helped by backing vocals, but it’s uptempo, punchy and catchy, its melody transcending pop punk.

The band, meanwhile, are tight to the point of perfection, punctuating their sound with crisp guitar riffs from Michael Ramirez and gutsy bass lines from Phil Hadfield, with Brent Harris’s propulsive drumming driving things along. And with the chiming vocals and angular riffs of set closer “Closed Eyes” ringing in our ears, the group leave the stage – with no broken bones.