The venue reeks of ego. Breath can be seen inside the venue, but not outside. The barman is passing drinks through a hole in the floor. Tonight is obviously the Manchester College of Art’s school trip night, as the wish-I-was-working-class rich kids invade Salford’s White Hotel. To create an idea of the level of pretentious twat we’re talking, a bouncer attempts to confiscate a bottle of spirit from one of HMLTD, to which he replies “I’m in the band”. Rock’n’roll man.
Despite the disappointing dropping out of Queen Zee, Luxury Death’s set is delayed due to technical difficulties. It is hard to tell if the lack of a drummer is a gimmick or a political statement, with this confusion leaking into the set’s entirety. The pedal board is the most interesting element of the set, but it is the ‘thank God these have finished so the headliners can start now’ vibe which creates a buzz around the room. Pioneering marketing for you there.
But Luxury Death are merely a shadow of HMLTD in every manor. Seven Jack’s spring out from one box, as an array of Tangfastic noise fills the dusty venue. If it was white before, it is far from white now. What noise is coming from where no one is sure, but it sounds ripped straight out of the arcade where the kids from Stranger Things hang out (sorry for any spoilers). New material is debuted, followed by ‘Music!’ seeing Henry Spychalski earn his money as the most dangerous performers around. The glitch infected ‘Death Drive’ somehow swallows the life of the room and vomits it back out, accompanied by ever enthralling electro lasers.
A calm fog invades. Only just audible, the rim shots of ‘Is This What You Wanted’ paddle into the sound systems, before a noise-encrusted chorus sees pogoing separate the crowd from left to right, instead of the traditional front and back. The sheer song writing talent is displayed within ‘Choux Choux’. One of the very first phonics which we learn as a child, it has been dragged through six of the most bizarre yet beautiful minds and made into a genius song. Performances of ‘Kinkaku-Ji’ and ‘Satan Luella & I’ are solid arguments as to why HMLTD are the most important British band around, offering their own ball of creativity; main elements poetry and performance, which are fused together an immaculate band image, distinguished by elements of androgyny.
‘To The Door’ is as impressive as ever, somehow speeding up an already electric riff and performing it flawlessly. It seems right to now acknowledge a presence, who started the set darting around with a flashing light and a camera, but is now making some flash mob-esq dance moves, but with a huge twist; he’s on his own. But praise needs to be given, as his non-musical performance manages to stay as connected but look equally as lost at the same time. This is maintained through the destructive final chapter of an enthralling set, ‘Stained’.
Dick Dale to Bowie. Asap Ferg to the Scissor Sisters. And everything in-between. On paper, the sound set up of the White Hotel hindered tonight’s performance. But realistically, this dirty little mill is the perfect host, for the perfect audience for the creative bubble which shows no sign of bursting that is, HMLTD. 95% of tonight’s attendees seem like the sort of people who wouldn’t give you a filter from a fresh packet, including all of HMLTD who would probably laugh in your face as result. But HMLTD’s performance tonight has proved one thing; if they want to, they sure as hell will.