Review: Hands Off Gretel / Desensitised

Hands Off Gretel / Desensitised

The Bodega, Nottingham  20/6/2019

Desensitised have come such a long way in recent months.  They’ve released their first album which has taken a lot of people by surprise by just how good it is. They’ve turned out a professional sounding and looking record on DIY funds.  Their new songs are not just a step up but a giant leap forward in quality and confidence.  All this transmits to the stage environment too.  It’s amazing to see how self assured the Nottingham trio have become.  Charlotte Radford’s vocals were always on point but have a little extra snarl while her bass oozes yet more class.  Claire Brookes has added flair to her solid drumming.  It’s the guitar that’s most noticeable though.  Libby Butters Smith entertains in her own inimitable way but has moved from reliable six stringer to someone whose playing is both memorable and impressive. Tonight in a packed Bodega Desensitised prove they are ready for much bigger stages.

You often see acts create momentum, lose a bit of it, build things up again, then slow down.  Music is all about ebb and flow.  It’s tidal.  If that’s the case then Hands Off Gretel are a tsunami, a seemingly unstoppable force of nature.  They are on the verge of breaking big time and washing away so many old conceptions when they do.  They’ve moved effortlessly from those half full mini venues to selling them out, even on a week night.  And they’re getting huge audiences at festivals too.  With rock elite such as Lzzy Hale now among their fans that difficult transition from underground cult status to national and international recognition is just a hairs breadth away.  The show they put on tonight shows why. For a relatively young band they have a set list many eminent acts would drool over.  It’s not just quality song writing it’s the depth and variety too.  S.A.S.S. and Kiss me Girl are radio friendly bangers, It’s My Fault is the classic slower song while Punk Rock tears it up.  The interaction between band and fans is like a noisy but happy family gathering.  This is a party.  And let’s not forget the stage presence of each band member.  They all play their part.  Sure Lauren Tate is centre stage but her lack of ego means Becky, Sean and even Sam sat at the back on drums get to shine.  If anyone asks who is going to be the next act to take music by storm point them in the direction of a Hands Off Gretel show. Their latest album is called I Want The World and it’s entirely possible they’ll end up getting what they want.

Review and photos by Gary Trueman