In the age of streaming and social media, us music listeners and gig goers are rarely surprised. As soon as a whiff of a hit makes it out there, it’s hanging around in tastemaker playlists and blowing up with your mates in the group chat. So that makes the chance to truly shock people at The Great Escape – the UK’s most popular new music discovery festival – harder than ever. Australian trio Haiku Hands, however, absolutely stunned us. Not because we didn’t see it coming, but it’s almost incomprehensible to witness a live show from a new act that can be this electrifying, memorable and bloody fun.
So let’s run down everything we know right now about Haiku Hands. They’re made up of Melbourne and Sydney natives Claire Nakazawa, Mie Nakazawa and Beatrice Lewis and according to their website make “four to the floor, pop till you drop.” Which is pretty much spot on. Their latest track, ‘Jupiter’, is a daring crossover between the snarling attitude of CSS and the huge ambitions of indie-disco legends Gossip, but their live show packs in house, pop and old-school rave.
Their two shows over the weekend – firstly a Thursday afternoon set at Komedia and the second a Saturday night riot at Horatio’s – was a masterclass in creating energy on stage and letting it permeate throughout the whole room. Think about the pure pop attitude of someone like Charli XCX, and combine it with the energy and swagger of a troupe like NYC hip-hop legends The Beastie Boys and you’re getting the idea. Take their performance of debut single ‘Not About You’ as an example. It’s basically a powerful pop banger in the vein of Azealia Banks’ ‘212’ that harnesses the choreography skills and stage props to birth a stage presence that can have with some of the best performers on the planet.
Both sets are flawless in creating a party atmosphere that’s not just intoxicating, but liberating and inclusive. On the second song they goad the crowd into a frenzy, daring “you not to dance” over a big house beat, while later reassuring that “no one gives a fuck what you look like” – just as long as you’re having fun. And boy, did we lap it up.
So now it’s our turn to thrown the gauntlet: we dare you to go see them this week and not have one of the most enjoyable gig experiences of the year. And when Haiku Hands become one of the most hyped live acts on the planet, it should come as a shock to nobody.
See Haiku Hands live: