The Men/Hookworms - The Brudenell Social Club - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

The Men/Hookworms - The Brudenell Social Club

by Andy Brown Rating: Release Date:

Leeds punk-rock heroes Broken Arm open proceedings tonight and set a high standard from the start. The first song comes on like 'Little Doll' by The Stooges via Black Flag; brutal and exhilarating. Most of the songs hurtle along at breakneck speed thanks to Greg Ginn worthy guitar heroics. 'The House Rules', from last year's brilliant Negative EP, exchanges speed for lumbering, repetitive, Shellac-esque heaviness and it suits them. One of the finest bands knocking around Leeds, Broken Arm could convert the most ardent Phil Collins fan to the seductive pleasures of punk rock.

Next up, Leeds' rising psychedelic innovators Hookworms fill the stage (well, the floor in front of the stage) with an impressive array of equipment; heaps of synthesisers and guitar pedals. Their set is incredibly loud and impressively intense. MJ screams into the reverb-soaked microphone while the two guitarists create a dizzying wall of Spacemen 3 inspired noise, the rhythm section providing a solid Krautrock backing. Tracks like 'Teen Dreams' from last year's Julian Cope-approved, self-titled EP sound gloriously deranged live. Hookworms are evolving with each performance and it's exciting to think what they'll be doing by this time next year.

The Men are a punk rock band from Brooklyn and aren't to be confused with the electro-pop band MEN, who are also based in Brooklyn. In fact, The Men are about as far away from electro-pop as you can get. At times they come on like a stripped back Dinosaur Jr (but without as many solos as J Mascis' alt-rock veterans). In fact, The Men bring a lot of 80s/90s alt-rock heroes to mind - a dash of Husker Du here, a splash of The Wipers there.

What they perhaps lack in originality they make up for in sheer exuberance and refreshingly raw rock 'n' roll. The drummer is reminiscent of a young Dave Grohl, both in appearance and his complete commitment to beating 10 shades of crap out of his drum kit. Playing tracks from their latest LP, Leave Home, The Men blast through a joyfully energetic set and leave the Brudenell crowd grinning as they stumble home from a thoroughly satisfying night of mid-week entertainment.

What's perhaps surprising about tonight is that it's Leeds' offerings, Broken Arm and Hookworms, who come out on top. Leeds, you don't know how good you've got it.

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