Liverpool Music Week (which obviously lasts longer than a week) was in town, and I’d got hold of a ticket for the free gig by Hookworms at The Kazimier, on the less-than-usual night of a Monday. Having seemingly sorted my ticket, it then became apparent that they wanted you down there early to confirm your place, otherwise the free ticket you thought you’d got would be offered to people on the night. Somewhat annoying, especially as there was probably still room in the Kaz as the gig progressed in any case, although it was pretty full. So, it meant an early dart from home, leaving the Boy Wonder in the capable hands of My Beloved Wife (I think these shall be their official names from now on, to protect their anonymity, though few people probably read this who don’t know them personally, making that rather redundant!).
I got to an uninviting looking Kaz shortly after 7pm, but fortunately the sign on the door revealed that wristbands for the gig could be obtained from the Kazimier Garden, where there was no queue at all for this, or for the pleasant pint of Butcombe Gold from the bar, although there were soon long lines at both, but only for a short while. As the first band weren’t actually on until 8.30pm in the end (a promised fourth band never materialised), I spent a little while in the garden, listening to the DJ who was playing library and soundtrack type music, before getting a pint of Revelation and heading down the slope into the netherworld between the Garden and the Kaz itself – an area I had never actually realised existed.
I got into the Kaz in plenty of time to get a decent spec, and to enjoy the tunes in there that were more to my taste, particularly from my early 20’s, including some My Bloody Valentine and Ride’s “Leave Them All Behind”.
First up were local band Cavalier Song, a 3-piece featuring bass, drums and guitar, as well as looped percussion. They were very drum-centric (with curiously damaged cymbals), with both non-drummers also playing percussion to add to the beats. The first number featured a riff from the sewers, bringing to mind some of the heavier end of grunge like Tad, while the second song was the tremolo-heavy, guitar-oriented but unfortunately a bit bland. I have since discovered that one of the band is the brother of Adam from The Rider, the excellent locally-produced weekly music podcast, but as I don’t believe I’ve ever met him, I was certainly unable to determine which was his brother!
I think they only played four, long tracks, with the third featuring guitar riffing and some gibberish, looped vocal from the drummer. They ended with what was clearly the guitarist’s favourite song, as he got thoroughly into it, shaking his head and playing in front of the drum kit and up the stairs towards backstage. Their experimental sound was somewhat at odds with the drummer’s Depeche Mode “Violator” t-shirt. An intriguing first band, but not really one for me, with too many prog hints for my taste.
The DJ continued with his shoegaze theme (or ‘dreampop’ for any American readers out there), with more MBV, Lush, Spiritualized, Galaxie 500’s “Blue Thunder” and The Jesus And Mary Chain.
Second on were Mind Mountain, another local band, and one who sit very well with Hookworms. They’re another 3-piece, with Joe Hirons, the guitarist/keyboardist, wearing a Goblin t-shirt (the Italian prog outfit, not just the mythical creature), a finely bearded sticksman (David Smyth), and the very grunge-looking, beanie-hatted bassist (Marc Glaysher), who reminded me of a mate from university (hi, Mike). Their heavy, instrumental sound reminded me most of Wooden Shjips, as well as Hookworms themselves, with plenty of Black Sabbath and early Sup Pop in there too. Basically, a real power trio, unlike the 60’s examples of that mantle. Smyth reminded me of a cross between Animal from The Muppets and Philthy Animal from Motörhead, so basically a real animal! The crowd loved the rather prog keyboard sounds towards the end of one of their songs.
A quick retreat to the Garden for another pint of Butcombe Gold was in order before the main event. Hookworms are a five piece from Yorkshire, who make an unholy psych/noise racket. They started out in 2011, with their first fully-released album, “Pearl Mystic”, coming out last year. A new platter called “The Hum” is due out shortly, so many of the songs were new to me, though the nature of the band’s music means it’s a little bit tricky to identify one tune from another in amongst the maelstrom of their beautiful din.
The guitarist looked like he’d fit nicely in either Drive-By Truckers or Lambchop, while the singer looked like a friendly colleague from Finance. The drummer reminded me of John Power crossed with some of Temples, with a touch of “Blonde On Blonde” era Dylan. The bassist oddly brought Eleanor Friedberger from The Fiery Furnaces to mind, while the other guitarist seemed to have stepped out of China Crisis, while being fabulously intense.
They started off with the opening cut off last year’s album, the mighty “Away/Towards”, but I’m afraid after that, song titles escape me. However, the set was suitably loud and powerful and left me with the need to snap up their new album as soon as it comes out.
In keeping with the nature of the main two bands, I wore my purple Wooden Shjips t-shirt. There were actually a fair few band shirts in evidence tonight, including Alvvays, Thee Oh Sees, Sleater Kinney, Forest Swords and Hawkwind. Quite a cross-section, but nevertheless ones that fit quite well with the night’s event.