The Hara @ O2 Islington Academy 2, London

10th October 2021
Review and Photos Rebecca Bush

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The Hara Band
THE HARA 

Today’s venue is the very intimate Islington Academy2 and despite the early show time of 4pm the room is full to the brim and the atmosphere is that of a Friday night , once you close those doors a show is a show regardless of time of day!

The Hara caught my attention at their extremely successful set at Slam Dunk south last month, so I knew I had to get to one of their headline shows for more of the action!

As I squeeze into the cosy photo pit with my fellow photographers cheers erupt from the crowd which can only mean one thing (and it’s nothing to do with my fortuitously timed arrival), time for Josh Taylor, Zack Breen and Jack Kennedy the trio from Manchester that form our headliners ‘The Hara’ to take to the stage.

One of the wonderful things about an intimate gig such as this is the concentrated energy that completely engulfs you, in the pit I am mere inches away from Josh as he appears dressed in leather cropped trousers and fishnet top – nips taped in black tape of course, and bursts into  opener ‘Tramp Brain’ from their 2019 EP of the same name. There isn’t a single person in the room not singing along and loving life as the expressive singer leaps around the stage fully engaging with the eager crowd in front of him.

Every song is a fun frenzy of joy and chaos with band and fans all in perfect sync , third track – one of my personal favourites – ‘Off The Edge’ from 2020 release ‘Play Dead’ has the whole room chanting at the top of their voices “STOP FUCKING WITH MY EMOTIONS”  as Josh climbs every available platform embracing the immaculate vibe of the room he fully expresses himself through his lyrics which makes the experience all the more enjoyable.

Restricted a little due to the small nature of the venue he even adventures out onto the club bar – this kind of energy just can’t be contained!

Then we come to the point of the set where our combined experiences over the last two years really unite us further, everyone has had battles to fight and we all have such a deep understanding of those struggles now, that live shows mean so much more to both artist and fan. Everything is stripped back, Josh stands at the mic and the poignance of ‘Afterlife’ sweeps across the room.

 

 “Help me I’m running my mouth in search of solid ground , I’ve been building things up I need to tear them down”

During any set there are always tracks that stand out as real crowd favourites but this set is one long frenzy of constant euphoria, every song tears through the air with hands raised high, bodies all jumping, voices singing in unison.

 

The connection between the three on stage is electric , Zack and Josh often interacting much to the delight of everyone , and Zack takes to the barrier himself for some much deserved love from the outreached hands the resulting chaos bursting through the speakers in all its distorted glory as the strings of his guitar become part of the fray. Drummer Jack Kennedy compliments them perfectly with his explosive fervent playing making the trio a really tight unit.

As the fever pitch grows we come to final song of the set ‘Animals’ Josh gets everyone well and truly hyped and as he shouts for a mosh pit we all fully embrace it and they finish the show in a glow of total triumph.

This is a band bursting with personality and the chops to back it up – the only way is up for sure and I and everyone in the room tonight are definitely here for the ride.

The Hara set list

Tramp Brain
Circus
Off The Edge
Blue Tick Souvenir
Be Somebody
Fool And The Thief
Afterlife
Bite Down
Black Soul Ceremony
All Worked Out
FYI
Until It Happens
Friends
Animals

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