Hookworms reaffirm their status as one of the UK’s most innovative new acts, thrilling both on record and live at Liverpool’s Blade Factory, while Baltic Fleet round up a superlative night for Getintothis’ Jamie Bowman.
Great Liverpool gigs seem ten a penny these days but there was something undeniably special about this almost perfect evening of life-enhancing psyche.
The presence of GIT Award 2013 nominees Baltic Fleet as a mere support hinted at the quality on show.
Opening with an ambient epic which defies the stilted cliches of contemporary post-rock they interchange between tracks from their eponymous debut through to the locked grooves of the follow-up, including a stunning rendition of Headless Heroes of the Acropolis illustrating their musical breezeblocks of industrial power.
Like the pub that shares their name, the Fleet evoke ghosts of Liverpool past.
The presence of Echo and the Bunnymen keyboardist Paul Fleming makes sense when digesting the spiralling Krautrock grooves of their superb Towers long player while the iciness of both their name and the glacial melodies that emerge from the snow blind static can’t help but summon up one of those cold Anton Corbijn album covers.
In fact summoning up images is what this band do best: their music is undeniably cinematic in the same spirit as fellow mototrik travellers Neu! and it’s impossible not to mention Kraftwerk considering there is an actual power station on their album cover.
Drive down the M56 late at night with the lights of Rocksavage Power Station glinting in the distance and their beautiful music will make perfect sense.
Baltic Fleet’s Paul Fleming live at Blade Factory
Hookworms arrived on stage on a sine wave of hipster hype thanks to one of 2013s must-own records – debut album Pearl Mystic. Despite this, front man MJ (the whole band go by initials only) looks anything
like a man bothered about such fripperies as image.
A scruffy Dinosaur Jr t-shirt is as cool as it gets for young MJ who after apologising for missing their sound check (‘If we sound like dogshit, don’t blame the nice man at the back of the room,‘ he implores) soon begins conducting layer upon layer of feedback as the five piece begin building up a layer of swaggering noise.
Unlike so many of the drone contemporaries, live Hookworms are far from a heads down and set the controls for nod kind of band. MJ is soon howling like a banshee imploring the sound man to turn the volume up as his bandmates lock into a fearsome groove with the impressively ambi-armed drummer.
As the drums crash and MJ’s vox echo into the ether it’s possible to discern snatches of melodies bubbling put of the tempest.
Yes – in their own way and fitting given their name Hookworms are catchy as hell and there’s a gloriously noisy pop band somewhere in the mix.
Think MBV or late 80s noisters Loop if you need a reference but to be honest this is a band out on their own right now.
At times the noise is almost gentle in it undulating tone as MJ‘s keyboards add a soothingly warm timbre to the brutal abrasive guitars. It’s beautiful and distorted at the same time. The crowd are stunned, as were we. Bring the noise.
Hookworms live at Blade Factory
Pictures by Getintothis’ Matt Owen.
Further reading on Getintothis
Moon Duo, Hookworms, Gigantes, It’s Murder Beams: The Kazimier, Liverpool
Getintothis reviews Hookworms at the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia at Camp and Furnace.
Getintothis‘ Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia – picture gallery.
GIT AWARD 2013: Nominee profile – Baltic Fleet.
Baltic Fleet named in Getintothis‘ top 50 albums of 2012.
Baltic Fleet‘s Engage
Getintothis reviews Baltic Fleet live at FestEVOL.
Getintothis reviews Baltic Fleet live at Liverpool Psych Fest 2012.