Posts Tagged ‘Live Review’

Christopher Nosnibor

Tonight’s bill represents a Sheffield invasion of Leeds, with four noisy bands packed in back-to-back. And they may only be from across a county border, but it’s apparent these guys aren’t from around these parts (and I say that as someone who’s ventured from North Yorkshire, where things are different again). I mean, since when did thick silver neck chains become a thing? There’s a proliferation of them on stage tonight.

It’s a small stage and a small venue, and a four-band lineup means it feels busy even before any punters turn up, and it’s one of those sweaty, drinking-like-it’s Saturday night intimate gigs that has something of a party vibe the moment you walk in, and it’s made all the better by a sound man who isn’t afraid to crank it up.

Spaff are on first, and their name certainly sets the bar low in terms of expectation. And visually… The singer’s questionable choice of office trousers and wifebeater vest (and seemingly obligatory chain) is paired with an iffy haircut. But the trio prove they’re not a load of wank, slugging hard and sound infinitely better than they look. Slamming down driving grunge riffs, they get properly heavy in places, while in others they’re more overtly punk. They showcase some particularly impressive drumming, with facial expressions to match, playing every beat with his mouth and manic eyes. There’s some innovative stuff going on with the arrangements, too, where the groovesome bass sometimes doubles as guitar, and it’s a solid sound. The last song is by far the best, with a genuine hook.

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Spaff

Apparently making their ‘technical’ debut after a number of previous debuts, Sickboy show off more questionable style, although it’s probably not intentionally an homage to Trainspotting: the drummer appears to be wearing scrubs while the bleach – haired guitarist has a knitted tank-top-cum-waistcoat, but again, musically they’re gutsy and loud, and they sound immense, with gritty guitars to the fore. The stage is a bit tight for four of them, so the singer spends much of the set in front. He prowls, hunched, menacing but awkward, anguished. There is a kinda 90s vibe with occasional hints of rap/rock crossover, and throughout they’re channelling a lot of angst, and in places sound a fair bit like Filter.

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Sickboy

Caesar Did It have one hell of a lot of effects and incorporate sequencers into their thick, post-grunge sound. It’s so dense, but also melodic, even a shade Alice in Chains or Soundgarden. Going slower, heavier, they venture into stoner rock territory, driven by some hard-hitting, expressive drumming. The guitarist has a short-sleeved t-shirt over a long-sleeved t-shirt that’s pure 90s, and has a chunky silver chain. He and bassist Kane share vocal duties to create a sound that nicely balances layers and thick, dirty overdrive.

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Caesar Did It

Another gig, another lineup as Weekend Recovery continue their heavy live schedule in promotion of their new EP ‘No Guts, All the Glory’. Lori’s gone for some permutation of the superhero outfit, only it’s her bra rather than her underpants on the outside. I’m not sure it’ll take off, but stranger things have happened. The band’s true superhero tonight is stand—in drummer Elaina from Caesar Did It, filling in for Dan (not to be confused with bassist Dan) who’s out due to work commitments (damn those dayjobs!), Playing two sets back to back is pretty hardcore, and best of all, she’s a good fit, being a hard-hitter and super-tight.

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Weekend Recovery

Dan’s bass is dominant in a good way: it fills out the sound and he plays with passion, throwing some shapes and lofting his instrument in true ‘axeman’ style, and everything looks and sounds cohesive throughout this punchy set. ‘In the Mourning’ is an early rocket, and ‘Yeah’ is back into the set after not featuring on their last trip to Leeds in January.

If ‘There’s a Sense’ feels a bit flat and short on breath, the crowd are too busy bouncing and throwing themselves about or falling over to notice, and they immediately pick up the energy and power on through and end with a searing rendition of ‘No Guts’. It’s a ripping finish to a fiery set.

There are probably going to be some sore heads in the morning.

Christopher Nosnibor

Snakerattlers are BACK! Almost two years to the day since their last show, the ass—kicking psychobilly duo are back on the circuit, and landing in style to launch a new album, The Left Hand Path at the same time.

Snakerattlers have always embraced their DIY position as something that enables them to do things their own way, and this event is exemplary: whereas album launches are often massive blow-outs with loads of bands and balloons and gimmicks, which mean you’re knackered by the time the headliners take the stage, they’ve gone for something that’s truly special and personal, in the form of an afternoon show with no supports, playing the album live in its entirety for the first ad only time, with some talk about the inspiration for each song before its played. It’s also noteworthy that said album is only being released on CD and vinyl: no downloads or streaming. A proper album, old-school.

The times on the door list Doors as 2:30 and Snakerattlers 3-4pm, and it’s getting busy when I arrive at 2:40, and while I am not tall, I’m amazed by the fact that practically everyone in the place is a fucking giant, so I grab a pint and get down the front, quick. Dank ambient atmospherics rumble over the PA.I figure there’s probably not much point trying to photograph the scribbled set list since the pitch of the launch event is to play the new album through as a one-off. So I suppose this is something of an in-the-moment first-hearing album review as well as a live review.

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They’re punctual, and Dan’s grin is something to behold. He may be shitting his pants nervous, but I don’t think I’ve seen anyone look happier to be onstage before. As a band who usually play around a hundred shows a year, a two-year enforced break probably felt like having their limbs amputated.

They’re straight in with a swampy reverby tune with no lyrics beyond ‘wooh’ and ‘huh!’ by way of an intro, and it feels like they’ve picked up precisely where they’ve left off, although it very soon becomes apparent that there’s been a significant shift in the world of Snakerattlers as they start working through the album. That’s what happens when there’s a global pandemic and successive lockdowns, and Dan is a lyricist who very much writes about the moment, meaning there’s a lot of contemplation and a darker atmosphere across the album as a whole. And while Dan is the voice and the mouth of the band, Naomi’s contribution should never be underestimated. Quiet, serious-looking, she’s the perfect counterpoint in terms of character, while her drumming has a natural feel to it, and a nice, easy swing, even at pace.

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‘One Hand’ is a song not about wanking, but about friendships (or lack of) and in some ways, independence, echoing the sentiments of The Fall’s ‘Frenz’. It starts gentle and sensitive, then goes blamm! ‘No Friend of Mine’ continues the theme of friendship, “All relationships are empty and temporary,” Dan comments in the song’s preamble, nabbing a Mansun lyric in the process, before launching into a rambunctious country-punk knees up. It’s about a minute long.

The songs feel evolved, and show a keen attention to changes in tempo and pacing, and the album sequencing also feels considered – which corresponds with the formats of choice, with the jangly ‘Rattle in my Bones’ ahead of the darker, gothy ‘I Remain’, with hints of The Gun Club. It’s slower, and fully anthemic, and I find myself prickling with goosepimples. ‘In the Ground’ is a contemplation on death penned during the pandemic, and it’s mid-tempo, minor key punk, and utterly magnificent to boot.

Taking the “darkness dial to 10” as he puts it, ‘All Hope is Lost’ emerged from a dark place during lockdown. It’s tense, and while it’s not quite Joy Division, it’s pretty damn bleak – but still manages a hook. ‘Small’ is more old school rock ‘n’ roll, while ‘It Comes’ (if that’s what it’s actually called) is a churner about insomnia, while ‘Spooks’, which emerged last year is more standard Snakerattlers uptempo Fall-esqu rockabilly – or rattle rock, as they prefer to call it.

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There’s another switch with the twangin’ instrumental boogie ‘Wolf Dance’ that paves the way for the final double salvo of kick-ass tunes, culminating with the fast, angular ‘We are Your Hell,’ inspired by a dickish punter facing off to the band at their last gig in Leeds on 5th March 2020. It’s a storming finale to the album, and to the set. It’s been exactly forty-five minutes, and it’s been a blast from beginning to end.

And with that, they’re off to man the merch stall. Rock ‘n’ roll! Yes, Snakerattlers are most definitely BACK!

Christopher Nosnibor

I may have mentioned this before, the reason I like going down to The Fulford Arms, and in particular, why I enjoy checking out the Wonkystuff nights. Yes, the music – John Tuffen’s curated events guarantee a nice and eclectic but complimentary selection of leftfield sonic explorations – bit it’s more than that. The venue, and these nights especially, cultivate a sense of community. I feel at home here. I don’t always feel sociable, but knowing there will be people I know, and people who won’t judge if the interaction is only a ‘hello’ because we’re all here to see the acts is a big deal.

And as ever, the acts are diverse, but of a solid quality.

I’m always happy to watch Namke Communications: John Tuffen never disappoints with his experimental improvisations, which usually see a single longform work fill the allocated time. On this outing, elongated drones and plops and plinks of electronic extranea blend and juxtapose against one another, melting into a slow swirl. A wind whispers through, and an organ swells slowly and falls away again a crackle of static. Some of the glitchy intrusions are ugly, others more subtle. Beatless, abstract but certainly not ambient during the first half of the set, it’s dark and ominous, but not unpleasant. Beats build in the second half of the set, arrhythmic, stuttering, pops and thuds bouncing in all directions at once. I lose myself in it, and it’s joyous.

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Namke Comunications

Wonkystuff regulars TSR2 – all 3 of them – make for interesting viewing. Yes, they’re typical middle aged white guys with gadgets, including lap steel, but they actually create some fascinating soundscapes, rising to reverberating cathedrals of sound. Immense surges of synth sweep cinematic across the stage. Elsewhere, they swing between Krautrock and funk-hued space-age prog. It’s considerably better than it sounds on paper, trust me. They’re clearly enjoying themselves up there, too, and that enjoyment is infectious.

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TSR2

Next is, Leeds maker of noise, 13x. Is it supposed to sound like that or is your cable fucked, mate? Yes, it’s supposed to sound like that. Mangled to fuck overloading stuttering, glitching electronics, the sound of circuits malfunctioning, melting give way to a fucked up samples-riven S&M collision between Suicide and Donna Summer. Darkwave disco with punishing beats, static fizz and Portishead crackle block up against slow, grinding industrial grooves and fleeting flickers of woozy trance weave in and out of a varied, but ultimately abrasive instrumental set. And yes, it’s mint.

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              13x                                                                                       Sam Mitchell

Wrapping up the night is another Leeds artist, Sam Mitchell. Sporting straggly grey hair and beard, he emanates the vibe of ‘scene veteran’, and he clearly knows his way around his (comparatively minimal) kit. Technical issues briefly delay the start of his microtonal glitchtronic set, but once going, it’s all wow and flutter, flickering bleeps and bibbling bubbles. It’s spacious, expansive, layered, textured and easy to get lost in. By easy, I mean perfect, and it’s a perfect finale that makes for another Wonkystuff win.

Christopher Nosnibor

Almost invariably, when there’s a buzz building around a DIY act, they’ve had some kind of assistance or boost, either via a PR campaign or radio play, and / or some fortunate support slots. Not so Benefits, whose profile has grown with the speed of contagion of the pandemic: they’ve thrived during lockdown without management, any ‘proper’ releases, and next to no press (although that’s changing fast); but instead of them seeking out the coverage they’re the ones being sought out.

On paper, their appeal is limited: shouty sociopolitical spoken word paired with blistering squalls of electronic noise is kinda niche, right? Like Sleaford Mods only more noisy and a bit shoutier, right? Sociopolitical ranting aside, not so much. Mods have very much exploited the affront some people feel about their not being a ‘real’ band, and have turned the lack of performance into a schtick. Benefits are very much a band, and despite the swinging, rhythmic hip-hop style delivery of some of the lyrics, Benefits share more with harsh post-punk noisers Uniform than another other contemporary act that comes to mind.

Steve Albini perhaps sums up the two key, and seemingly opposing elements of what Benefits do in referring to the period of musical foment of the early 80s, with ‘the Crass/Pop Group ranting lefty/anarchist punks, and Whitehouse/TG/Cabaret Voltaire pure noise’. He’s not wrong when he writes that it’s ‘Been a while since something evoked that era as effectively as this Benefits track.’

But Benefits don’t only evoke that era: they’re a band that are precisely of the moment. During lockdown, people were on edge – and they still are as they emerge, blinking, into a world that has changed, and not for the better. More divided, more violent, it’s a difficult place to navigate. People are scared, and they’re also disaffected. Benefits channel and articulate all of this, and the buzz around tonight’s show was positively electric.

Feather Trade could easily be mistaken for being a ‘haircut’ band on face value, but their tousle-topped singer’s vocals invite comparisons to The Cooper Temple Clause’s Ben Gautrey, and the comparison to TCTC doesn’t end there as the trio blast through some jagged alternative rock defined by solid, meaty bass and gritty guitars. With a post punk vibe, great voice, the lineup may have been hastily-assembled, but they boast a truly great rhythm section. Switching between acoustic and electronic drums varies sound, and the line ‘fuck your trust fund’ from closer ‘Dead Boy’ is a sentiment we can get behind. Keeping the set to a punchy five songs, they made for a compelling opener, and I doubt I’m the only new fan they’ve won on this outing. I liked these guys a lot.

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Feather Trade

Some guys I never really liked are La Petite Mort: in fact, my last review of them was pegged to a single line in parenthesis. But this newly-resurrected iteration shows that they’ve evolved massively in the intervening years, transitioning from a novice sixth form indie band to something altogether more challenging, and altogether more powerful. If anything, there are shades of The Young Gods both sonically and visually. Now a duo with laptop and live drums, they’re dense, dark, intense. At some point, just as he has for Avalanche Party on occasion, Jared Thorpe whips out his sax and starts tooting away. No, it’s no euphemism. La Petite Mort embrace a slew of genre styles, and nail them to some tight, technical jazz drumming and lots and lots of reverb.

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La Petite Mort

This all leaves us ultra-hyped for the headliners, and they sure as hell don’t disappoint with their spoken word grindcore hybrid. With some brutal electronics from Robbie Major, they build from sparse, acappella hip hop to a blistering wall of noise. They build and build and rage so, so hard it’s savage. There are some smoochy hip-hop vibes, but they’re a stark contrast to the raving lyrics. ‘You get what you deserve’, Kingsley Hall warns, menacingly. Against the backdrop of Russia invading Ukraine as we look on, we hope it’s true. They venture into post punk / Sleaford Mods-ish territory just the once over the course of an hour-plus long set. Hall reads the lyrics to ‘Meat Teeth’ from his phone in a state of anguish. The song itself is stark, harsh, and it hurts. And yet this pain is what connects us with the band. Hall’s openness and honesty when he speaks between songs is like a body blow. This isn’t a performance, this is real. “What a fucking country, what a fucking state…. Sausage roll man… Tory cunt.” He admits to struggling with the whole being on stage thing, but it’s clear from the way he attacks every line, this is something he feels he simply has to do.

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Benefits

In a recent interview with Loud and Quiet, Hall explained, “I’ve got this pent-up anger and desire to speak and to shout and discuss. But how do I translate that?” On stage, that anger is anything but pent-up: it’s channelled into an eye-popping storm of words dragged from the very soul.

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Benefits

‘Flag’ steps up a level just when there seemed like no more levels to step up, with punishing percussion and snarling noise. It’s harsh, but so, so invigorating and cathartic. The encore / not encore is a perfect example of the way Benefits don’t conform, don’t play the game. And while doing things on their own terms in every way, they stand apart.

There’s no pithy one-liner to wrap this up: I leave, borderline delirious, simultaneously elated and stunned by what I’ve just witnessed – a show that was, frankly, nothing short of incredible.

This is my first time at Headrow House in ages. Literally years. May 2019, to be precise, when Big Joanie supported Charly Bliss. It’s remarkable to reflect on that, now that Big Joanie are playing truly huge venues as the support for IDLES. This, of course, is, in a nutshell, why we need grassroots venues, and why it’s worth arriving in decent time and checking out the support acts. Tonight is another case in point.

But first, on arrival, I realise how much you forget. Like I’d forgotten how the downstairs bar is so loud and busy, and thought there was a larger selection of beers. Upstairs in the gig space, it’s less loud or busy, but then, it’s early doors, and I need a refill before the music starts.

Helle are up first, and they simply blow everyone away. They’re intense, fierce. Authentic, angry old-school punk, the female-led act employ S&M imagery in both their songs and appearance. It’s in your face in the best possible way – forceful, confrontational, strong, with edge.

It’s an unusual experience hearing two bands cover the same song just a few days apart, and noting the difference: against Healthy Junkies’ solid but standard rendition, Helle’s cover of ‘These Boots are Made for Walking’ is a feedback-soaked stompfest and kicks all kinds of arse. The singer possesses real presence, strutting and swaying, and has big, gutsy vocals to match: she’s raging, alright, and channelling the spirit of the late 70s all the way.

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Helle

Railing against the government, railing against the patriarchy, etc., etc., may seem old and standard, but 45 years since punk broke, it’s still relevant – which is depressing. In context, Elton John’s ‘Benny and the Jets’ seems like an unpunk song to cover, but they kill it, hard, while closer ‘Pornography’ goes hardcore. It doesn’t get better than this.

Pulverise bring a different kind of intensity, the Leeds five-piece collective being unashamedly nu-metal/rap-metal/sports metal in their stylings. With a 5-string bass chug and two guitars laying down slabs of distortion, it’s a full-on kick with a keen sense of groove. It’s very much a Judgement Night Soundtrack kind of groove at that, and the RATM influence on the sound, if not the subjects, is also apparent. And then they whip out a metal cover of’ ‘Insane in the Brain’ that sounds like Pitch Shifter and then it segues into ‘We Ain’t Going Out Like That’: it certainly illustrates the band’s vintage, and it’s good fun in a retro, kinda sports metal way.

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Pulverise

Weekend Recovery change their lineup more often than Lauren changes the colour of her hair, and so it is that the band on stage tonight isn’t the same I saw at Long Division in Wakefield in September last year, and the lineup launching the EP isn’t the one that played on its recording. On the one hand, it’s rather a shame: on the other, onwards and upwards, and the current lineup may well be their tightest yet.

Ant & Dec’s ‘Let’s Get Ready to Rumble’ makes for a corny but fun intro tape, and it bleeds into the Countdown Countdown for the band to rush onstage against the clock… badum, badum, badaladum… boshh! And they’re straight in with ‘Radiator’, the opener from sophomore album False Company.

The bass sounds like twigs rattling in a bag, scratching away during this first song, but everything comes together soon after. The sound and lighting are top notch, even if the stage show is channelling The Sisters of Mercy circa 1985, with Lori in particular so swathed in smoke as to be barely visible for the majority of the show. They slay ‘In the Mourning’ early in the set, and it’s a varied one, showcasing tracks from the new ‘No Guts’ EP as would be expected for a launch event.

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Weekend Recovery

And oh yes, the EP is a solid 4 songs, as Lori pointed out to me from the stage, although only two of them feature in the set, which draws heavily on recent second album False Company. The first of these is ‘It’s Obvious’, a slow-burner with a mid-80s feel. Early single ‘Out of Control’ is played at breakneck speed, on account of Lori having a moment while programming the backing.

Across the set, they showcase tunes that could and would be immense given the right exposure. It’s followed by the rarely-aired heart-rending new tattoo before getting back to full-throttle energy with turn it up, the only song from their debut album: it’s very much a forward-facing set, with very few further reaches into the back catalogue.

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Weekend Recovery

Forster channels Suzi Quattro, and not just on account of her getup: she’s all the rock up there and has come into her own as a performer since tasking on the role of sole guitarist as well as singer. A kick-ass ‘Zealot’ prefaces set closer and ep lead ‘No Guts, All the Glory’ which is perhaps their strongest single to date, and rounding off a strong set to round off a night of great performances.

Christopher Nosnbor

By this time in any normal year, I’ll have been to at least three or four gigs by now, but 2022 has got off to a slow start largely because the impacts of Covid-19 continue to hit live music harder than perhaps most industries. Planning is nigh on impossible when bandmembers find they have to quarantine as late as the day of a show. Plus, people – bands and punters alike – are still cautious, and the dilemma of to play or not to play, attend or not attend is one that’s understandable. But, having attended my first live music at The Victoria Vaults (a seated show) last August, I’ve been working to overcome any anxieties I may have by getting out more, at least incrementally, and it’s remarkably life-affirming to arrive early doors to find a fair few others have already turned up for what promises to be a top night out, with touring London acts The Kut and Healthy Junkies supported by local quartet The Bricks.

If the name suggests something unsubtle, and also blankly nihilistic, it’s halfway to a fair representation, in that The Bricks trade in dark, spiky goth-tinged (post) punk, with some busy but solid bass grooves. Gemma Kennedy delivers gutsy vocals at the lower end of the range but then rising to a scream, and brings real power to the songs, and she’s a compelling focal point for the band, too. Introducing one of the songs, it dawns on me that the three guys playing instruments probably remember the miner’s strike that one of the songs is or isn’t about, in contrast to the vocalist who very much doesn’t, but they work cohesively as a unit, and deliver a solid and exhilarating set, and they’re admirably tight.

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The Bricks

Healthy Junkies – a band who’ve been on my radar for a while as a band to see – don’t disappoint and kick ass from the outset. They power out of the traps channelling Pretty On the Inside era Hole sonically and visually (and perhaps Nina Courson brings a dash of Katie Jane Garside to the punk rock party too). They sustain full throttle, max energy, punky energy for the duration, and while their cover of ‘These Boots Were Made for Walking’ is perhaps a bit standard, it’s played with feeling as part of a set that builds. Recent single ‘Tricky Situation’ is but one of a number of standouts in a set delivered with real panache.

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Healthy Junkies

I won’t bang on about how long I’ve been listening to and covering The Kut, but will say that it’s been a long but rewarding journey tracing their ascent, and following the release of their long-awaited debut album, they’ve continued that upward trajectory. While it’s Princess Maha as the band’s principal member who’s driven this, it’s only been possible by building a grassroots fanbase through hard gigging, and regardless of lineup, The Kut have always been a strong live band, and this is never more apparent than tonight. It’s a different lineup from the last time I saw them at Verve in Leeds in August 2018, which is practically a lifetime ago.

In a set that rocks hard, post-album single cut ‘Animo’ lands second. It’s perhaps a shame that the ‘girls to the front’ shout suffers from the wall of male photographers making up the front row, but they’re not going to throw a Dream Nails strop about it: they’re clearly enjoying being up there in front of a respectable crowd, playing songs after so long away, and they’re on strong form. Maha’s vocals are scratchy in the throat, but actually sound really good against the backdrop of chunky rock guitars. There’s palpable pleasure on their faces as they rip through the poppier ‘Hollywood Rock ‘n’ Roll’, and the moshing down the front expands from a couple off people to a proper pit. Maha’s grinning and pogoing, and it’s a joy to witness, as is the kickass rendition of ‘DMA’, and ‘I Want You Maniac’ brings forth more solid riffing. The forthcoming album is well represented with a number of songs, too. Of these, ‘Burn Your Bridges’ is slower and more dynamic, and something of a standout.

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The Kut

Main set closer ‘Badman’ brings most of the moshers up onto the stage, and I realise that it’s precisely this that I’ve missed; people cutting loose, enjoying themselves, the whole gig principle of getting lost in the moment. I’m immersed in the performance, the show, the experience, and for a few minutes at least, this is the world. There is nothing more, and this is the entirety of the universe. If only life was always this way – because in there here and now, with a pint in my hand and a band blasting away, giving it their all, this feels like the best of living.

Wharf Chambers, Leeds, 3rd December 2021

This is a show I’d been revved for for quite some time: on their last visit to this venue, back in 2017, noise veterans Part Chimp blew me away with the sheer quality of their performance, as well as their sheer volume, prompting me to ruminate on how ‘they radiate noise from every orifice and every pore’ and how ‘the guitars serrate your skull and the bass vibrates your solar plexus and every riff is as heavy as a small planet and the drums as hard as basalt.’ Experiences like that are rare, but also addictive: as a gig—goer, you want every show to replicate that level of thrill, that mind-blowing intensity, and it’s a dragon you’ll chase and chase but rarely capture. There’s also a thing about seeing a band for the first time, when you don’t know really what to expect, and then whatever your expectations may have been, they’re confounded tenfold. Second, third, fourth time around, it’s unlikely you’ll feel that same sock in the face.

Anticipation for the evening stepped up a few notches on disclosure of the support act, Objections, being ‘a pair of Bilge Pump’s and a Beards’. ‘Formed in 2007, dispatched in 2018’, the latter splattered their way onto the scene with their sound defined by the explosively angular racket of their debut album ‘Brick by Boulder’, and during their existence, proved to be a stunning live proposition. Meanwhile, the former, revitalised in 2019 after almost a decade’s silence had been reaffirming their status as Leeds legends prior to the pandemic halting their live activity.

Objections is Bilge Pump’s Joe O’Sullivan and Neil Turpin with ex-Beards’ Claire Adams. Claire covers bass and vocals, while Joe’s weapon of choice is a 12-string, which brings some real depth and density to their brand of sinewy post punk. It’s goth meets math rock, and at the same time combines the best of both Bilge Pump and Beards. The guitar provides texture and tone rather than tune, sculpting shapes, and watching O’Sullivan is always a joy, not to mention exhausting: the man is a relentless blur of energy (and impossible to [photograph without better kit than mine), and plays every chord with his entire body, leaping, lurching, and perspiring heavily every whichway. Adams’ bass is stop/start, lumbering, and the choppy, angular songs with their variable time signatures are held together with precision percussion from Turpin. Oftentimes, a relentless repetitive rhythm grinds a backdrop to peeling shards of guitar splinters, and chunk funk bass drives a collision between Shellac and Gang of Four, leading towards an ultimate space rock finale. They are stunning, and the place is busy, and the reception they receive is well deserved: this is one of those occasions where you could leave immediately after the support and feel that you’ve easily had your money’s worth.

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Objections

But then, it’s Part Chimp headlining, promoting their latest album, Drool, their sixth proper in their twenty-year career and the follow-up to 2018’s Cheap Thriller, and it’s the final track from this album that they power into a blistering set that’s a massive barrelling noise of relentless riffery from the off. They’re out as a three-piece sans bass tonight, but make enough racket for infinite members, with enough downtuning to cover the low end. And when I say that they’re loud, I mean they’re seriously fucking loud. Standing front row stage right I’m overwhelmed by the speaker shredding backline of Iain Hinchliffe’s guitar but it’s magical – obliterative, immersive, cathartic.

At this point in their career, they’re no longer young, and they’re not overtly cool, with their beanstalk singer and somewhat squat and unsvelte guitarist, but it’s the music that matters and makes them the coolest guys around: they make the best fucking noise, and may have just released their best album, which occupies half the set and reveals its range magnificently. Battering away at a couple of chords blended with all the distortion and feedback, the vocals buried in echo, and there’s a sample that runs between the songs throughout set in a fashion that’s reminiscent of the loop that runs through Rudimentary Peni’s Pope Adrian 37th Psychristiatric. With guitars like bulldozers blasting out rifferama ear-bleeding volume – did I mention that the volume’s up to twelve or thirteen?

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Part Chimp

There are occasional hints of Hawkwind happening, but overloaded with distortion and howling feedback at a thousand decibels and there’s some bad trip psychedelia slow and hypnotic in the mix. But Once again, it very quickly becomes a haze, and it’s impossible to do anything but yield to the wall of sound and enjoy. Live music fans live for moments like this, and it’s clear that everyone in the room was in the same space. If there is a heaven, it has to be this.