hookworms live


Green Door Store, Brighton – 1st April 2013

It's not often you go to a gig and end up standing in the audience next to the guitarist, but Hookworms are not a band to do anything by the book. In fact there were two guitarists in the front row of the sold-out Green Door Store, there not being sufficient room on stage to accommodate all five of the band's members, with much of the space being given over to vocalist MJ's bank of keyboards and effects boxes, leaving the drummer centre stage and the bassist off to the right.

With the popular Cold Pumas also on the bill, it was great to see the GDS packed to rafters for each of the three bands playing, and though it took some time for the main act to get their gear set up, when they were finally ready they set off at a blistering pace with a stunning volume that had your ears flagging for surrender within seconds before they gave up trying to discern and you were able to lose yourself in the beautiful storm that was brewing (mostly) on stage. Our guitarist adopted heavy metal pose as he kicked at his six effects pedals and and thrashed away at his instrument, capo fixed firmly behind the first fret, breaking his D-string in the third song and somehow managing to get a new one out of his bag, but never managing to get it on his instrument. Not that anybody noticed; this wasn't a night for subtley, it was a night for intensity with MJ spitting out his vocals as if his head were in danger of exploding, whilst at other times peering short-sightedly at his array of boxes in case the wrong pitch was escaping into the night while guitars screamed, drums rattled, and the bassist (the band have never revealed their names, choosing to be known as MJ, MB, EG, SS and LW), all in black, calmly plucked the odd string as the tornado swept away everything around him.

With a terrific album under their belts, most of which they probably played on the night, there is little doubt the Leeds band will continue to fill venues across the land and it will become increasingly more difficult to hide from the limelight. But, despite the inferno of their own making and the rapturous applause it brought, it is pretty clear at the moment they remain down to earth, the only real communication of the evening coming halfway through the set when they thanked their promoter for the sausage casserole he had provided, and debated the relative price and quality of bread and chips between the north and south, the Brighton produce apparently being superior in quality but twice the price. With that important decision reached, it was back into the maelstrom for the remainder of the set and though the band attempted to end with a nonchalent silence, the genuinely heartfelt applause ultimately couldn't be ignored.

After the apathy which has dogged the past few years, it is fantastic to see full venues and terrific new guitar bands greeted with such enthusiasm. There's a buzz in the land, no mistake, and long may it continue. The chips may be expensive but six quid for three bands, a great atmosphere and some explosive music: why would you stay at home?

Photos: Gary Packham

hookworms live

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