Hookworms: Holy Trinity Church, Leeds

The incredible acoustics and beautiful backdrop of Holy Trinity Church, in Leeds, hosted four talented and contemporary acts as part of the week and a half long urban festival Beacons Metro. The front of the church interior formed the back of the stage and was lit by some genuinely impressive visual projections throughout. The venue was full and everyone in attendance seemed to really enjoy the varied creative styles on display.

The first act, London based Great Ytene, kicked off the proceedings in entertaining fashion. Their atmospheric sound was the perfect fit and was greatly complimented by the stunning acoustics of the church. Their driving guitars gradually built until they filled the room providing a truly uplifting experience.

Then came the gripping vocal talents and hard hitting beats of Virginia Wing. They juxtapose shattering electro beats with tender, delicate, and poignant vocals. Set against the gripping cascading visuals behind them, which married perfectly with the music; Virginia Wing showed promise of a bright future. The only downside being that the soft, gorgeous vocals were often drowned out in the mix by the thudding beats.

Penultimately it was the instrumental grit of Kogumaza. The engaging soundscapes they create are tinged with a darkness and angst. They invoke emotions without any lyrics to steer us toward the state they are portraying. They reminded me of a more restrained version of Nope. It was during their set that the visual projections reach the evenings high point. With the stage not being elevated it was difficult to see the band unless you were on the front row, but with visuals this encapsulating most people’s eyes were drawn to the back of the room anyway.

Finally, the moment we had all been waiting for, the triumphant return of Hookworms. Their set seemed to fly by as they rattled through a passionate and energetic display. Under normal gig circumstances the impassioned, full throttle, vocals of lead singer MJ are compelling to say the least but in this acoustics heaven they were spine tingling. The noise the rest of the band created seemed to shake the room, which was a concern in building of this vintage. “Radio Tokyo” was a particular highlight, as it always is, but this was a set of such quality that very few tracks stood above the others. They were backed by a different set of visuals to Kogumaza, and this set didn’t seem to be quite as fixating, but maybe that is because Hookworms were demanding all of your attention, and you were helpless but to give it to them. Hookworms are incomparable, truly unique but yet easy to love despite you having no frames of reference to easy your comfort.

All too soon the set, and therefore the evening, was over. There was no time in the schedule left for an encore despite a palpable desire for one amongst the audience. As religion becomes less and less popular then this is our time to strike and buy up all the remaining churches, purely for live music purposes as this is clearly how they are best made use of.

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