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Hookworms / Virginia Wing

Glasgow Art School (Saturday March 18th)

By • Mar 28th, 2018 • Category: gig reviews

So it is to the Art School tonight, St Paddy’s night (a Pogues tribute band is playing ABC2 and some prog outfit in ABC1, Blue December, no me neither) – first up is Virginia Wing, two guys on keyboards and other percussive stuff plus a female lead singer (Alice Merida)- can’t say they did much for Betty’s bones, except perhaps for the last track (which BM can’t seem to find or name). They have released a few records, ‘Tomorrow’s Gift’ from last year being the most recent. The overall effect is just a bit muted, like a Homebargains version of Ladytron, apologies but it was insipid and boring, might have been better with some more lights and stage presence.

There is quite a lengthy break then we have Hookworms, the reason BM is here, a bit of a buzz around these guys after their second LP “Microshift” caused a bit of a stir last month. From Leeds, this 5 man outfit set up their own equipment and perform with minimal lighting and gimmicks. The look is utilitarian, a large mixing/effects desk at the back, bass and guitar also at the back, drums at the left front of stage and vocals/keyboards right front.

When they start with ‘Negative Space’ there is a palpable reaction in the room (the venue is sold out) – who are these guys, there’s no spotlights, they could all disappear in a crowd. There is a backdrop of vaguely psychedelic graphics. The robotic percussion and sample builds, the bass kicks in and then the vocals (courtesy of apparent band leader MJ, just initials with this lot), it’s like Joy Division with Geddy Lee on vocals…or something. There are also strong vibes of Hot Chip in the vocals and the instrumentation.

There then follows an onslaught of 10 or 11 tracks of full-on Krautrock vs Disco, most from ‘Microshift’ but several from the 2014 album ‘The Hum’. There are no frills, no interaction with the audience, just heads down and get on with it. The music is furious and at times ecstatic. The crowd are a bit static though, but appreciative.

A few tracks down the line we get a sax apocalypse (Christopher Duffin BM thinks) and a guest appearance from Virginia Wing vocalist Alice. There is no encore, just a cheerio, job done – but what an hour and a bit, pure euphoria.

Hookworms are booked as the support for the Frabbits festival thing at SWG3 in early June – good choice.

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