10 years on from the release of their debut album The Trick to Life, The Hoosiers are back for an anniversary tour and have brought all the classics in tow. Following a great set from ones-to-watch support act, Zeals, The Hoosiers deliver a night of nostalgic throwbacks to better times (the cherished late 00s). With their famous single ‘Worried About Ray’ getting the crowd belting along right from the start, they bravely decide to drop ‘Goodbye Mr A’ relatively early, before ploughing through all the favourites from their first album.
Several forgotten gems stand out, including the acoustic ‘Everything Goes Dark’. They explaining that the song is an exploration of mental illness, which gives the lyrics new, thought-provoking meaning. Between songs singer Irwin Sparkes entertains the crowd with what can only be described as slightly awkward dad banter, reflecting perhaps that the Hoosiers golden days are indeed back in a previous decade, yet the band clearly perform with the same warm nostalgic enthusiasm as the audience, and they certainly get the crowd dancing. In a time when cheesy pop-rock is almost obsolete, and heavy bass-ridden big-name DJs dominate the industry, it is lovely to sing along to silly songs about superheroes and ‘Cops and Robbers’ once again, and remember a band the majority of the audience would have grown up with. Having seen The Hoosiers myself when I was 12 (my first ever gig!) the night is particularly heartwarming.
After finishing the set, the band return with a lengthy encore, no longer sticking to the first album. This is where the band are able to showcase their true technical abilities. Perhaps the most memorable song of the show was an excellent and unexpected cover of the Weeknd’s ‘Can’t Feel My Face’, performing a psychedelic, guitar-heavy, slower version that works excellently. The full, impressive range of Sparkes’s vocals were put on show here as he breaks into a powerful falsetto, and the extended guitar solo brings on cheers from the crowd. Once again, it is lovely to see the band clearly having a lot of fun onstage, the anniversary tour absolutely coming about due to a love of performing and a wish to revisit, perhaps for the last time, the success that dominated their early career. As Sparkes joked, ‘you can buy our merch, or not, we don’t need the money!’.
Ultimately, the evening is a fun, nostalgic, cheesy night for band and audience, with their final song ‘Choices’ leaving people singing down the street after the gig. Their sound might not quite have caught up with this decade, but no-one can deny the deserved success of The Trick to Life- the album that catapulted The Hoosiers to fame 10 years ago.