(Hooker played as part of the bill on the fundraising shindig for Ponce In The Park / Lightyear album launch party at the Gatehouse, Derby.)
I want to get this down while I’m still buzzing from the gig. When Hooker took to the stage, I had no idea who they were, what they were or what they were going to play.
Half an hour (or so) later and I was a rabid convert. I even bought their mini-album and later bugged them to sign it.
As they started, I thought, ‘ooh, this sounds a bit different.’ True, the sound of Hooker has some familiar elements: Buzzcocks’ chromatic chugging, the jerky tom-pounding frustration of early Devo, even a touch of PJ Harvey. But the whole is something new, something that’s powerful, frantic, thrumming and, above all, poppy.
The keystone is Zoe McVeigh’s vocals. They’re clear and commanding, cutting through the guitars and drums so that, joy of joys, I can actually hear the lyrics! And the lyrics are worth hearing, seeming to be equal parts lust and distrust – although I could be wrong on this as I haven’t had a chance to listen to the album yet. In a way, I don’t want to because then this gig review would be informed by it. Whereas now I’m purely relying on my memory of seeing a brand-new (to me) band doing a great gig.
They do brilliantly at getting the audience tapping and clapping, if not moshing. I can see a lot of happy faces there, punters thinking ‘Hey! This is good! Who is this band!’ It’s a great moment when you first hear something you know you’re gonna love and listen to in the future. As I watched Danny Sharman wail on the toms like a reincarnated Gene Krupa, I took a mental snapshot. The way that the drums and Mat Skinner’s bass dovetail so silkily is a beautiful thing. Hell, the band should sound stripped-down but, like other natural trios before them, they don’t. They sound full and layered because what you’re hearing is the depth and structure in the songs.
Ummm… I’d better go now cos it’s 5.04am. I can’t give you a song-by-song review because I won’t know any titles until I listen to the (autographed!) album. What I can say is that seeing Hooker tonight is the reason I still go to gigs. You never know when a band is going to come on, plug in and just blow you away…
love and kisses,