This is a support band with a difference.
No one in front of the stage at the Mean Fiddler on this cold Tuesday evening appears to have a clue who Kevin Martin & The HiWatts are. Beforehand many people muttered questions to one another; who on earth are the support band? There is something decidedly funky about the psychotic, feel-good music. From their pounding bass to their dynamic, patchwork vocals there is a lot to love about this polished band ready to rock their way into the public eye given half the chance. Despite having fronted the late Candlebox, Kevin Martin seems to have had no problem with the transition between selling 3 million records and supporting a band most people only know as “Amy Lee’s boyfriend’s band” in a dingy little hole.
The crowd remains static throughout their first song, but perhaps this is down to the fact that 90% of the people here are able to legally drink. Once the final chords come to their resting place an impressive cheer goes up. With their bass featuring heavily throughout their set, Kevin Martin & The Hiwatts are the ideal party band. Kevin has a highly creative voice that performs the type of gymnastics you’d expect to see featured in the Olympics rather than in a crappy venue such as the Mean Fiddler that cannot even begin to do his voice justice. This is the type of solo work that dreams are made of- for even on record he manages to pump a ridiculously large amount of emotion into each and every song. After just three songs the band manages to invoke a decent rocker's response from the now jam-packed ‘Fiddler.
“Now for something completely different!” says Kevin, as the band begins the type of ballad that is so powerful it threatens to knock the grotty walls down. Whilst it creates the perfect moment to truly show off Kevin’s voice, it also manages to combine old-school rock qualities with a direct, modern approach. As one punter remarked, it is, quite simply, “fucking impressive”.
They might not look like anything special, but Kevin Martin & The Hiwatts can certainly offer a taste of emotive, political rock with the added bonus of wails you’re bound to attempt to recreate. Although highly American, there is also the feeling of intelligence in both the music and Kevin- After apologising about the USA president and calling him “a fucking cunt”, he then gets down to business and delivers more bluesy, ballsy, downright funky rock music to the delight of the audience. If only every support band were this good.