HMLTD at the ICA
As the post-punk dominance of guitar music appears to waning, some new trends seem to be appearing. Bands like Black Country New Road showed a confidence in their musicality to create more expansive music and alongside numerous bands exploring jazz influences or math-rock, there appears to be a few bands starting to play with dare I say it, prog-type music. HMLTD entered the prog fray earlier in the year with a concept album, The Worm. It tells the story of a post-apocalyptic Britain under the influence of a giant worm, The album features string sections, choirs and horns. Sonically, nothing has been spared. It is also a really good album.
I was looking forward to see how HMLTD would bring this to the stage. Given they decided to play two nights at the ICA. I was hoping this meant some element of staging and possibly the choir. Disappointingly, this was a band-only performance. Although dressed in appropriate cosplay like attire. (Matching many in the audience). This meant some of the sonics had to be scaled back.
Luckily, HMLTD are a great live band. Henry seemed to enjoy playing the part of the album’s hero. Complete with a gauntlet and hero flouncy shirt. He launching himself energetically into making his part come to life. His performance went from full-on stage musical with big gestures, to full-on rock, sliding around the stage on his knees. It was a very effecting performance. In part making up for the sonics lost from the album.
As good as the performance was. I was left wanting more. I want the full-on prog experience. I want the choir and string section and stage show. Maybe it will happen one day? But this was a fine effort at bringing this big sounding album to an audience and making it such a fun evening. They have to be applauded for deciding to take such a risk.
Support was from Heartworms who are rapidly gaining a reputation as the next big thing. Like at the 100 Club, there’s something interesting about the band. The singer seems to have dropped the militaria, and picked up a edgy haircut that much better suits their sound. The use of the theremin is unique at the moment. Like at the 100 Club, they didn’t make enough use of it. I can see why many are raving about them. Definitely one to catch at festivals.