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HMLTD have always been a tough band to pin down genre-wise. Are they punk? Are they electro? Are they glam rock? We shall never know because not even they’re aware. But one thing for sure is that they always deliver an awe-inspiring live show.

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It is a Friday night in Sheffield, predrinks downed, I head to Picture House Social. Mulletted men dressed in PVC and pleather are scattered about the place, making it obvious from the start what gig we had come to see. I bought a pint and went to sit down. A sound I can only describe as aggressive synth noise came from the gig room. ‘Ahh so HMLTD are sound checking then.’

Walt Disco were the first to perform. Their set was nothing short of fantastic, even with the semi-frequent sound hiccups. The band looked like a unit, dressed uniquely to themselves in outfits that were almost costume like, each having their own style but coming together to look like, well, a band. Having recently being signed to Sports Team’s record label, Holm Front, this band have huge things ahead of them. 

Another pint in hand, I secured myself as close to the stage as possible and eagerly awaited the magic of HMLTD. The setlist was placed on the stage directly in front of me, so I caught a sneak peek of what songs were to come.

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They took to the stage with ‘Music’, one of their oldest and most beloved songs. Five of the members arrived first, followed by frontman, Henry Spychalski. He was dressed in a suit with the bottoms of the trousers and jacket cut off with what I could only presume were kitchen scissors and had a unibrow drawn on. Iconic, as ever. The rest of the band were dressed slightly more tame than usual, but still with hints of gender-bending and eccentricity. 

‘LOADED’ followed as the second song. Being there most recent release, I was somewhat surprised when the whole crowd knew the words. Early fans of HMLTD have had some issues getting into their newer releases (post-2017, Hate Music Last Time Delete EP era), so it was nice to know there are still some fellow die-hards out there. 

The band delighted the crowd with some unreleased album songs scattered about their set, with classic HMLTD sounding ‘West Is Dead’, and ‘Mikey’s Song’, the latter taking a more classic electronic 80s turn that I am unimaginably excited to hear the studio recording of. 

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‘Satan, Luella & I’ was another classic that the audience were waiting on, with Spychalski constantly interacting with the crowd, serenading individuals directly. I could be mistaken but I’m 90% sure he proposed to me during this song, singing “Luella, babe, won’t you marry me now?” while looking frankly too deep into my soul. (Henry, if you’re reading this, the answer is yes and I’m free on Friday night if you want to hang out xx). 

Their set ended on a huge high, with three absolute bangers in the form of ‘Flex’, ‘To The Door’ and ‘Stained’. Absolutely no member of the crowd standing still for a minute while these were being played, and everyone was suitably sweaty by the end. 

HMLTD are a completely majestic band, with their live shows being something to describe as extraordinary, providing an experience you won’t get from anyone else on the music scene right now. Hopefully, we won’t be waiting too long for another tour to go alongside their hugely anticipated debut album, due for release in the coming months.

AIMEE RHIAN

PHOTOGRAPHY – IONA SKYE WOOD

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