“This song’s about premature ejaculation”, drawls Heyrocco’s lead singer, Nate Merli, as this much vaunted trio from South Carolina launch into their opening song, Melt (previewed here). It’s not packed at the Cookie in Leicester but it’s fair to say that those in attendance have had their attentions fondled.
Such blunt introductions to their songs continue to characterise this gig as we get to know the interests and attitude of these Nirvana influenced pop-punk kids who balance self-deprecation with an assured swagger. “This song’s about being a loser”, states Nate but we don’t believe he really believes that. Two swooning Japanese fan girls mouth along to the words and you sense that Nate will soon become a winner.
He’s certainly quite a captivating frontman. Shambolically dressed in odd converse boots (does wearing one black one and one white one make them inverse boots?), Nate jumps and flails around the stage. He’s playing at being a tortured soul, a bit too charming and polite to ever completely descend into madness but when he stands up straight and rolls his eyes into the back of his head, you wonder if he’s about to fit. The stage at the Cookie is only raised a few inches higher than the audience but at one point, Merli brings his microphone stand and guitar amongst us to really break down any sense of them and us.
Bass player Christopher Cool, acts as his name suggests and stays calm throughout concentrating on creating a tight rhythm section with Taco Cooper on drums. There are times when these two freak out but those are few and far between. The final song of this 40 minute set arrives which signals the right time for Taco to leap from his bass drum, rugby tackling Nate to the ground. It’s a play fight, a high school rumble but perfectly in keeping with the laddish euphoria these mates are trying to create. It’s also a pretty fine climax for a gig that started with a song about premature ejaculation.
You have to give special credit to the excellent promoter for this gig and many others that happen in Leicester. Ian Magic Teapot has been putting on gigs for years and I’m sure he must lose a small fortune when potential punters decide to stay in their warm houses instead of venturing out into cold Autumn nights. The shame of it all is that tonight at the Cookie for a mere fiver, people would have seen a band that are still learning their live craft but are already displaying the signs that any return visit to these parts will demand larger venues and more of a ticket scramble.