Live review: Quasi, Hookworms at Broadcast, 7/12/13

quasi9Leeds five-piece Hookworms play their final gig of the year in support of Quasi tonight.

Their debut album, Pearl Mystic, looks set to make interesting running in a lot of end of year lists and their live performances have generated a lot of recommendations.

High expectations are rewarded here with one of the most intense musical experiences of the year.

‘Away Towards’ creates perfect tension.

Psychedelic drone and motorik momentum transcend any misplaced shoegaze references.

Their short but immersive set is sweet evisceration.

If Quasi’s ability to follow these upstarts was in doubt, fears are soon put to rest by the duo of Sam Coomes and Janet Weis on keyboard and drums.

A small but loyal bunch of word-perfect fans mouth the lyrics of ‘California’, which takes notes from Pavement’s jaunty disjointed rock and offers a loungy take on a Sonic Youth vibe.

“This one’s for all the misfits of the world; the square pegs, the don’t fit ins, the out of steps, the misunderstood, the heads in the clouds…” Coomes begins ‘An Ice Cube in the Sun’ from this year’s Mole City.

Quasi are for the underdog, they look on from the fringes but it feels like a privilege to discover them in this intimate setting.

‘Good Times’ stark intro of tambourine and drums shows a band that have been together for 20 years perfectly attuned to the dynamics of their material.

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Coomes makes the best of the small but appreciative crowd, he recalls telling members of Hookworms: “these are the best shows, you’re supposed to get big but this is where it’s at.”

He doesn’t mean to damn them with faint praise: “I don’t want to have to throw their t-shirt away when they go mainstream.”

The dirty nursery rhyme qualities of ‘You Can Stay But You Gotta Go’ are like Ben Folds without the smug jokes.

Switching to guitar, Coomes fumbles his tuning, remarking that it’s the fault of the LED he can’t see without his glasses.

Welcome to Middle Aged Alt Rock Problems.

Weis is happy to be here: “Glasgow is the one place I would move to, it’s as nice as Portland.”

This means a lot coming from the woman who also drums for Sleater Kinney.

Albert Hammond Jr (playing a late sold out show in the venue afterwards) is banging on the door, so encores are brief.

It’s insignificant in the scheme of things, but Quasi being a functioning band for twenty years means a lot to those who shout for one more tune.

The baroque ‘It’s Raining’ is approved over a cover version of ‘War Pigs’.

The improbable but winning jazzy take on grunge that Quasi purvey may not set souls on fire quite as intensely as the opening band, nor fill the room like the guy from The Strokes, but they don’t compromise and they have found their own sound, qualities which shouldn’t be underestimated in a diverse music scene.

more photos

Words: Lucy Brouwer
Photos: Michael Gallacher

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