Hookworms - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Hookworms - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK

by Andy Brown Rating:10 Release Date:2012-02-25

Hookworms are on a roll. The band’s debut album, Pearl Mystic, became something of a word-of-mouth phenomenon, catapulting them into the pages of every music magazine, newspaper and online blog. With a move to Domino imprint Weird World, the expectations were even higher for their second LP. Hookworms were everyone’s favourite new band.

Receiving rave reviews from NME, DIS, Mojo and (naturally) Soundblab The Hum bulldozed through the bullshit and delivered an assured, powerful and thrillingly cathartic second album. The band returned to one of their favourite stomping grounds, The Brudenell Social Club, to officially cut the ribbon and let us hear one of the finest albums of the year live.

The celebrations begin tonight with a set from the shambolically brilliant, Sex Hands. Hailing from Manchester, the band specialise in old-school indie thrills. Think Beat Happening and early Pavement; think catchy and chaotic pop nuggets wrapped up in distortion and frantically played guitars. 

Their name is probably a reasonable indicator that this band don't take themselves too seriously; they look like they're having the time of their lives. Something this fun tends to be naturally infectious and their set seems to put everyone in the right frame of mind for a good night.

Next up, we're treated to a bone-rattling performance from Nottingham’s Kogumaza. A very different prospect to Sex Hands, Kogumaza deliver a commanding set of heavy, instrumental psychedelic rock.

Their sound incorporates elements of Krautrock and Earth’s steadily paced drone-rock, all played at suitably hair-raising volume. The bass-drum thuds against my chest while the band's twin guitarists build up a hypnotic storm of Sabbath-worthy riffage. If you get a chance to see this band live then you really, really should.

Sipping on Hookworms-endorsed pale ale (they brewed their own beer for the launch with Kirkstall Brewery) I take my place for the oncoming sonic storm. Hookworms aren’t the kind of band you can casually watch, their energetically passionate performance pulls you right into every sweat-soaked, noise-drenched moment. From beginning to end, the band’s set is as intense as we’ve come to expect.

MJ hits his microphone and punches the air, absorbed in every minute of the band's sonic ritual. The band are often labelled as psych-rock (I know I’ve described them as such on numerous occasions) yet for all the reverb and effects-pedals, this music is far too urgent to have the stoned, laid-back connotations that often come with anything deemed psychedelic. At the end of the day, Hookworms sound like Hookworms and that that turns out to be a very good thing indeed.

The band work their way through tracks from their debut EP, Pearl Mystic, and (of course) The Hum. The quality refuses to dip as the group show the assembled crowd just why they’ve been getting such positive press recently.

The frazzled organ groove of last single ‘Radio Tokyo’ still feels as thrilling as ever, while new album opener ‘The Impasse’ sounds as if it had a rocket strapped to its back. ‘Retreat’ locks into a hypnotic motorik groove while slower piece 'On Screen’ packs an even bigger punch live.

Without a doubt, Hookworms remain one of the most impressive live bands around. This is music with the power to pull you out of a slump, the power to pick you up and turn you around. This is music that reminds you why live music is so great in the first place. A friend described the show perfectly when he said, “Hookworms were a force of nature”. 

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