So here I am, pissed off to hell after a fraught time locating the legendary station car park of Stockport*, wet through after a downpour, shattered on a Monday night after work and nerves jangling after wandering past the road with the venue on twice, not enjoying the support band GNOD and I look out at the gigantic mirrorball and think to myself, ‘this better be bloody good’.
I loved the venue by the way, it was my first time at Manchester’s The Deaf Institute and it’s truly ace, an upstairs wooden music hall, capacity about 200(?) with a bar along one edge, steps at the back to sit on, a balcony upstairs, a high stage and crazy wallpaper over the domed ceiling. It is definitely very, very cool indeed. It’s also full of an expectant crowd eager to see White Hills on their second trip to these shores in 6 months. Ego Sensation is on merch duty again, but I don’t bother her this time and Dave W is flitting around in, as usual, an incredibly natty shirt and great, great flashy black and white leather shoes – given that Ego is wearing a sort of bright red, one-piece hotpants and sparkly collar cum-Santa suit number** – this is one well turned out band. The drummer, and I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know if it was Antrohny or Nick Name, is dressed all in black, but that’s drummers for you.
After a bit of fiddling about they take the stage and Wallop! White Hills come out of the traps swinging. The bulk of the set is taken from this year’s So You Are… So You’ll Be LP. Second track in was the mighty ‘In Your Room’, which got most of us who were politely nodding our heads, head banging. White Hills really, really played heavy this time around and large chunks of the show sounded a lot like a 21st century space Sabbath, or a Hawkwind who’d really got their shit together. It was just stone-cold brilliant from the first crashing chords to the last, but particular highlights for me were, ‘So You Are…So You’ll Be’, which was Stooge-like live and the brilliant, trancey ‘Internal Monologue’. My favourites, ‘HP-1’ and ‘Pads of Light’ were in there along with the guitar freak-out ‘Rare Upon This earth’.
What struck me seeing them this time around was just how great the three of them are musically, they are also the loudest trio I think I’ve ever seen live. The drummer was just amazingly good, possibly one of the best I’ve seen yet. Dave W, sporting less eyeliner than last time out, is a real psych-rock guitar hero throwing every shape you can imagine into the bargain too, whilst soloing like his very soul depended upon it. Ego plays a mean bass, adds some great sneering vocals and conjures up most of the FX on the spacier tracks.
I need not have worried last night White Hills took my bad mood and my stress, threw it back at me with their sheer volume and lifted me up on high, making even getting soaked again on the way home totally worthwhile. Just what I needed to sustain me today at work after 4 1/2 hours sleep, but if that’s the price to pay for being a Monday night rocker, then pay it I shall. Gladly.
See you again in another six months White Hills!
273 Down (still).
*said to appear once every 3 years to a chosen one who is both pure of heart and unsweaty of foot; just turn left after the lost city of Atlantis, if you find yourself in El Dorado you’ve gone too far.
**jeez I clearly have a gift and should turn 1537 into a fashion blog, right now!