"Hello London! We are Hornet! And we play ROCK AND ROLLLLL!!!"
After what seemed an eternity setting up their gear, Hornet and frontman Joe Thompson unleash their mission statement and with feet stamped heavy on the gas pedal for set opener 'Drive On'. This young Hastings band keep things up-tempo and energetic to the end.
Displaying an admirable work rate that a few more bands could do well to take note of, Hornet seem to be using this gig as their warm up for Wembley Arena! We get synchronised headbanging, ego ramps, a walkabout solo that sees guitarist Tollef Rikje-Pearson taken from the stage and deposited on the bar via JT's shoulders, and a confetti cannon for encore 'Down To The Bone'.
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Perhaps suffering from a few other high profile bands in town tonight the venue is by no means packed but these lads don't let that slow them down and simply encourage their loyal "swarm" down at the front to get creative with the moshing which is happily obliged.
The band hit their stride for 'Sweet Lips', a snazzy Geezer Butler-esque bass interlude into 'Secondhand Smoke', fan favourite 'Hunky Dorey' and 'Storm The Gates'. 'Rock N Roll Riot' is a highlight with everyone joining in for another rabble rousing chorus before some obscene hand puppetry for the aforementioned set closer.
Debut album 'Skies Are Falling' provides the bulk of the setlist and is currently only available at gigs or direct from the band which is a nice gimmick for fan loyalty but if the boys want to really reach the masses it's a strategy they might want to rethink. Confidence, attitude and dedication are here in spades so why not let others in on the secret?
All in all Hornet's brand of second wave BritPunk (think Anti-Nowhere League snarl and Abrasive Wheels style terrace chants) and US Hardcore (I could swear I heard some Black Flag and D.R.I. in there) wrapped up in a Motorhead blanket may not get them to Wembley Arena but it doesn't really matter as EVERY gig is Wembley to this lot. Just with smaller confetti cannons.