Only one week ago I had never heard of Felix Hagan & The Family, but over the past few days I’ve been on something of a whirlwind romance. Thanks to bandcamp I’ve been able to enjoy both the 2011 album Dawn Breaks, The Monster Wakes... and the more recent EP String Up The Entertainer multiple times already. After days of waiting, finally Saturday arrives and I get my chance to experience the band live.
The Night & Day Café has an entry fee lower than the price of its beer this evening, with four bands on the bill. The stage is graced by the technical trickery of Race To The Sea, the frantic musical hooks and chaotic vocals of E Numbers and then Kismet Ryding, who do a good job of raising the energy. Looking around though, it is obvious that the majority of the crowd are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the main attraction.
The band haven’t even finished sound checking before a noticeable shuffling forward begins and it’s not long before the opening chords of ‘You’d Better Be On The Inside Looking Out’ causes an outbreak of tapping feet. ‘Dirty Little Urchin Child’ follows and the crowd is beginning to notice that it is almost impossible to not dance to this music.
Being one of seven performers on stage, Felix occasionally looks like a circus ringmaster. At one point, down on his knees centre stage with faces surrounding him he appears to resemble the messiah himself. No matter whether that is deliberate or not, there is no doubt that he is constantly entertaining. The obligatory call for merch sales was also delivered with a new spin, with the band declaring “we are the DFS of rock ‘n’ roll” thanks to the “ludicrously low prices”. Before the gig, a “sexy new video” was filmed in a bar across town and if as much fun was had during that filming it is sure to be worth a watch.
Following the “hip-hip odyssey” of ‘Poser Boy’ the crowd is on board for anything the band has to offer. Even repeating on command the beginning of song ‘Oh Molly’ line by line. With the end of the set drawing near, first backing vocalists Ellie Cowan and Tash Hodgson, then Felix himself join the crowd to have a dance of their own.
Despite demonstrating his use of metaphor (“the main reason people come to see them”) while describing a potential encore as an available sequel, the band showed what I’m sure must have been faux-surprise when the crowd demanded a second return to the stage.
All in all this was an incredible bargain of an evening and it can only be a matter of time before Felix Hagan & The Family are storming much larger stages across the world. Night & Day is currently going through a battle to stay open following a noise complaint and it is nights like this that demonstrate exactly why we must keep hold of it. I know it’s only January, but I’m sure those 50 minutes I’ve just witnessed will be in contention to be my favourite performance of 2014. I’m already prepared to take this week long fling with Felix Hagan long term and commit to both him and his family for the foreseeable future.