White Hills, Mugstar & Hookworms

White Hills

Venue: Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Website: Official Blog
Label: Thrill Jockey
Writer: Brett Savage

If this was a review about venues, I would most certainly give Brudenell Social Club a full 5 stars. Situated in what looks like, well, a traditional Social Club, Brudenell hosts some of the finest gigs over that side of the Pennines, and has a great selection of beer at great prices. It was well worth the trip from Manchester just to survey it.


Hookworms have certainly made big waves in the last 12 months. Firstly releasing their debut on Sun Araw’s Sun Ark label (which has subsequently been re-pressed by Gringo/Faux Discs) and supporting any number of great bands, they seem to arrive fully formed into this world and destined for more. I am pleased to report that they sound even more potent live than they do on their debut EP. Songs segue from one into the other, I’m fairly sure they played some tunes I haven’t heard, but I certainly recognised the great 'Teen Dreams' in their set. Inventive use of traditional psych tropes and some well-considered structuring of their songs bodes well for Hookworm’s future. An upcoming Record Store day split with ace Nottingham instrumental trio Kogumaza is making my mouth water. I’m probably gonna miss out on it, because you’re going to get there before me. I would suggest you buy in now before it’s too late.


If you are a fan of Clinic’s brilliantly woozy psych, then you could not be failed to be impressed by their local brethren, Mugstar. Mugstar sound like Clinic as if they were weened in a patchouli-scented household, where Hawkwind never came off the stereo (rather than the Velvets, in Clinic’s case). This is actually a bit of a disservice to Mugstar, as they have plenty to say for themselves. They bring surf-y, exotic riffs to bear on the whole spacey proceedings, with healthy hints of muscular Sonic Youth discordance. Recent release, Serra (which was remixed in a rather lengthy, but glorious fashion by Loop’s Robert Hampson) gets an airing, and as Mugstar leave the stage, there is a feeling that they have gained a clutch of new fans. Brilliant stuff and well worth seeking out.


Headliners White Hills add a bit of glamour to the proceedings, not least with Ego Sensation’s crushed red velvet hotpant suit, glittery tights, platform stilettos and plexiglass bass. There is a level of sartorial elegance on display here that is not shared by the rest of the line-up. Last year’s ‘HP-1’ was a fantastic record which mixed MC5/Alice Cooper-esque rock with burbling analogue Komische. They have just released their newie, ‘Frying On This Rock’ which sounds like it keeps this stream of consciousness open.


Dave W (looking like a slightly dressed-down Alice Cooper – slightly, mind) arches his back Wayne Kramer-style as he rama-lama’s his solos through ‘Condition Of Nothing’, ‘Pads Of Light’ and ‘Dead’. Ego Sensation keeps the bass lines ferocious and driving, and both fill every inch of stage with their charisma. I’m not sure, but I think it was Anthrony on drums, and he was a wild man throughout. The only disappointment is that the set contains only their rockier songs, and given that White Hills albums are often textured affairs where motorik kraut rubs shoulders with quicksilver space rock, this isn’t really reflected here. Maybe this is because they are stripped back to a 3-piece (with an offstage droney backing). By time they come on for their encore however, the audience are pummelled by power and volume enough for Dave W to announce that they are playing a song they've only played live once before. A dazed throng are seen leaving the marvellous Brudenell to the hazy warm night with big smiles all round.

#Leeds Brudenell Social Club #Psychedlelic rock #Punk #space rock #Thrill Jockey #White Hills #Gigs #Brett Savage

Posted: Fri 23 March 2012