Mi Ami - Nation of Shopkeepers Leeds - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Mi Ami - Nation of Shopkeepers Leeds

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

The guitarist from Hookworms is unpleasant to watch. He spends most of the group's set tonight crouched at the crowd's feet, twisting and contorting, rubbing his body against his guitar while looking bafflingly pleased with himself. It's like watching someone attempt to find the most uncomfortable position in which to masturbate. The endless, echo-drenched, ludicrously onanistic riffs he produces while doing this mean it's not just the eyes Hookworms assault but the ears too. Their singer spends the majority of their set wearing a hoodie with the hood up (on the hottest day of the year). He also spends most of the set off the stage (to be fair, it's not a big stage), alternately eyeing the crowd balefully and flinging himself around while screaming. Perhaps his lyrics justify such antics. It's impossible to tell since, like the guitar, his vocals are so drenched in effects they're reduced to just a faint echoing buzz, like a wasp in a bucket. It makes his behaviour seem a bit embarrassing-by-association, like having to sit next to a loud mental on the bus.

Things improve drastically once Hookworms skulk off and San Francisco's Mi Ami take the stage, pausing just long enough for lead guy Daniel Martin-McCormick to remove his shoes before launching into a blizzard of noise. Everything Hookworms did wrong, Mi Ami get resoundingly right. Martin-McCormick is a riff-monster, but his playing is elastic, elemental and never comes over as self-indulgent. Hopping and dancing barefoot around his little space on the stage, he seems genuinely lost in the music, his screams and wails feeling utterly justified. Throughout, drummer Damon Palermo is mesmerising to watch, his strobing fists seemingly connecting with every part of his kit at once. Bassist Jacob Long, meanwhile, provides a contrast simply by dint of his perfect calmness. He keeps his eyes serenely closed throughout the set, occasionally taking a step forward or back when things get particularly heated. The set's highlight is undoubtedly the fearsome mutant punk-funk of 'Latin Lover' on which Martin-McCormick quotes Whitney Houston's 'I Wanna Dance with Somebody' before hammering the hell out both a keyboard and his guitar.

Unfortunately, judging by the way the crowd gradually thins during their set, Mi Ami may be a little too much for Leeds tonight. The tipping point possibly comes when Martin-McCormick stuffs his mic into his gob and spends a good few minutes gurgling and squawking while wriggling around like a disco-dancing bird. Presumably, some people reckon this isn't what they came into town to see. Well, sod 'em. They deserve Hookworms and no better. The rest of us understand the weirdy brilliance Mi Ami have graced us with tonight, and we're very grateful.

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'Ludicrously onanistic riffs'. Lol.

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