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Hope of the States

09:43 28 October 2004

The Waterfront, Norwich

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> The Waterfront, Norwich

Hope of the States are no ordinary band. Six-strong, complete with piano player and violinist, they walked onstage at the Waterfront last night to fanatical applause.

Opening with the instrumental piece The Black Amnesias, they make it instantly clear that not only can they produce a sound worthy of a 100-piece orchestra, at the same time they can produce a tune that sweeps you off your feet and transports you to another world.

Unusually, the band has a love-hate relationship with America, expressing it both through their music and the multimedia display projected on the wall behind them. Songs such as seven-minute epic Black Dollar

Bills and George Washington deal with themes of war and greed, to the backdrop of shell-shocked war victims and bombing runs.

Every song sounds like the last gasp of humanity as it faces an apocalypse, particularly the raging The Red, the White, the Black, the Blue, but at the same time the cracked vocals of singer Sam Herlihy give each song a human element which is reinforced by the sheer delight he seems to take in just being on stage.

Quite an impressive feat to pull off.

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