This was my first jaunt along to the hipster haven XOYO and what better an occasion to pop that particular cherry than a line-up which includes the disparate sounds of both New York's Freelance Whales and Edinburgh's Broken Records?

Traipsing in about 8.30 after a nice wait in the cold and wet, moods were lifted somewhat by a surprise guest on the bill, one Marcus Foster. Foster serenaded the Shoreditch crowd with a stripped bare and ultimately pleasant set that included a couple of tracks from his forthcoming Tumble Down EP which is due to land in April.

After 20 minutes or so, a slightly nervy (and giggly) Foster made way for Broken Records upon which there was an immediate change in atmosphere and an almost palpable sense of anticipation. 'Fresh' off the back of a cancelled ferry from Dublin the band hit the stage without sleep for any of the previous forty hours. You wouldn't have know this from the set which ensued (even if some of the in-set chatter got a little rambling).

The band's intensely brooding, moody and at times epic (if you can be epic in a venue such as XOYO) sound transferred brilliantly from record to the live stage. It also made me question, just when the fuck did fiddles and brass become so mesmerising and, frankly (for lack of a better word) cool? That I couldn't answer but the performance of Rory Sutherland (fiddle) and Dave Smith (trumpet) really added an extra edge to the set.

Overall the set flowed well with a healthy mix of songs from both Broken Records' albums as well as numerous changes in pace throughout. For me though, the band are best when they are loud, up-tempo and all going at it full-tilt. Highlights of the set included brilliant renditions of 'If The News Makes You Sad, Don't Watch It' and 'A Darkness Rises Up'. There was also a special performance and reception of 'A Promise' which front-man Jamie Sutherland introduced as one of those songs which ends up being popular for a reason you just couldn't fathom (it was used in an episode of Skins).

All in all this was a top set from a band who were very much on form. If this is them knackered, lacking sleep, they must really kill it when they're fully fresh faced. By the time Broken Records left the stage, XOYO was really buzzing.

There was a rush to the extortionately priced bar and a jockeying for position before Freelance Whales finally took to the stage. The New York five piece looked genuinely delighted to be there. Their gleeful demeanour was further accentuated by the presence of glockenspiels and banjos on stage. Who can resist such instrumental goodness?

With the mood of XOYO lightening by the second, Freelance Whales launched into a cracking set that was front-loaded with hits 'Generator Number 1' and 'Hannah' each of which being enthusiastically knocked out much to the adoration of the crowd. The band's energy was highly infectious and the New Yorkers succeeded in the virtually impossible act of breaking a Shoreditch crowd's too-cool-for-school bubble with a sing along.

One thing that becomes apparent witnessing the Freelance Whales live set that's perhaps not so obvious on record is their work ethic. Between tracks band members are frantic swapping positions on stage, alternating instruments as well as tuning up and down. It was a bit like pass the parcel at times with everyone taking turns with the various instruments littering the tiny XOYO stage. At one point I'm sure Doris Cellar was singing, playing bass and also glockenspiel on the same track. Kudos is definitely due for this.

The remainder of the set was equally well received by the increasingly partisan crowd. With new track 'Anxiety' getting a live airing and an especially warm welcome. If this is an impression of what's to come from the band it seems the follow up to Weathervanes could be another cracker.

Whilst Broken Records and Freelance Whales sit well apart in terms of their respective sounds, put together on the same bill everything they complemented and complimented each other so well that they even broke the Shoreditch too-cool-for-school bubble.