Review & photos by Paul Broome
After a year of Radio 1 airplay, big singles and the prominent release of their third album Pulled Apart By Horses are bound to have changed. Gone all Zane Lowe in the membrane, yeah? We went back to the Library to find out.
You hear it said of some bands that they perform to the crowd so well that they can make an arena concert feel like an intimate gig, like they’re singing in your ear and personally rubbing your shoulders. Them Wolves are the opposite. They turn the smallest venue into a great chasm of rushing air and uncompromising volume – and it is glorious. Fuck your cochlea, saccule and vestibulocochlear nerve – you can’t take them with you – just stand back let the noise wash over you, and let your inner ear dribble down the side of your neck. The new material is sounding solid, and if there are any scrapings of justice left in the world, 2015 should be the year that the rest of the country catches on to just how mighty this three-piece is.
It’s only a few weeks since Leeds’ (kind of) super-group Menace Beach turned in a great set at the Hare and Hounds as part of All Years Leaving, and they’re back here touring in support of their own great supporters. Most of the recent single and EP tracks get a run – including personal favourite ‘Fortune Teller’ – they turn in a confident performance, and there’s a feeling very much that this is another band doing their warm-up stretches in preparation for a big year. Debut album Ratworld is released in January (they’ll be back at the Hare again next month to push it) and the feeling is that they may well eclipse the success of other recent Leeds-based success stories. They’ve got the tunes, they’ve got the appealing approachable attitude (a real West Riding trait that), and the world is currently eating up psych-rock like warm mince pies (the really nice ones from M&S, not the cheap ones).
So, bring on the play-listed big boys then, let’s see how the high-life has affected them. All smoking jackets, coiffured hair and fashion endorsements, yeah? Fuck off. Pulled Apart By Horses take to the stage with all of the ‘four mates in a band’ swagger that has made them a live favourite over the last few years. Those new Blood songs make so much sense live, that I’ve forgotten that I’m still learning to love them on the album, even opener ‘Hot Squash’ – which really left me shaking my head when I first heard it – is so obviously not a ‘change in direction’ or ‘hit song-writing decision’, it’s just another great PABH song.
The circle pit forms quickly, Tom bends double over the barrier to orchestrate the crowd, it’s just a big fucking party – that’s what you expect and that’s what they deliver; every gig. By the time the encore of ‘Yeah Buddy’ and ‘I Punched a Lion…’ is thwopped on the table, you don’t know whose sweat is whose and whether that ascending mist is dry ice, steam or the exalted souls of fallen crowd surfers.
A great night, and three great bands.