Hoops at The Hug and Pint, 2/5/17

Originally intended as an ambient-dance project of Drew Auscherman, the recruitment of additional band members led to Indiana-natives Hoops being picked up by the esteemed Fat Possum Records in 2014.

Ahead of the release of their debut album Routines later in the week, the band stop off at The Hug and Pint bringing their melodic indie to provide the perfect comedown soundtrack to a gorgeously sunny bank holiday weekend.

Auscherman looks genuinely delighted to be onstage, on what is the band’s first Scottish visit.

This is reflected in early airings of ‘Rules’, drenched in reverb and sounding utterly joyous, and ‘Management’ with its immensely catchy chorus.

Hoops are spreading good vibes by the barrel-load, however before the instrumental ‘Benjals’, their long-haired frontman informs the crowd of the terrible news that he is playing battered and bruised, after his finger getting slammed in a door a few days previous.

He then proceeds to go into further detail throughout the rest of the set, describing the wound “oozing” on his strings as he plays through the pain.

Luckily, the music is enough of a distraction to the more squeamish, and ‘For You’, complete with gorgeous falsetto, is a highlight.

Taking nothing away from his bandmates, who play with an intense precision throughout the 45-minute set, Auscherman is the star of the show; engaging with the audience with a playful smile plastered on his face for the entirety (despite his injury), he begins three consecutive songs by saying “I really like this song”.

By the time the five-piece end on now-customary set-closer ‘La La La’, the whole room is bopping along in gleeful ecstasy.

Judging on the strength of the material aired tonight, this will be the last time Hoops tour club-sized venues.

Their tracks aren’t made for small, dark rooms and it would seem that they would much benefit from being afforded the breathing space of bigger stages.

Hoops’ sun-kissed melodies are tailor-made for sunny afternoons at festivals, so don’t be surprised if they are the band who soundtrack your summer.

Words: Graham McCusker

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