Health/Zombie Zombie - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
On a busy evening at Leeds' charming Brudenell Social Club Los Angeles noiseniks HEALTH took to the stage before a crowd with high expectations, and easily matched them. Their live show is a startlingly intense, highly personal thing to behold - it feels almost voyeuristic watching four performers so immersed in the music they're making that the fact there's a crowd watching them seems almost incidental. Powerhouse drums and swirling, refracted noise are the order of the day, with hooks buried under sheets of carefully cultivated feedback. The crushing likes of Triceratops and Zoothorns were mixed up with the dancier, more traditionally-structured Crimewave and Glitter Pills, and enjoying the show never felt like hard work. The songs from their self-titled debut truly come to life live, and a smattering of new tracks proved that there's plenty more to come from the quartet.
Headliners Zombie Zombie had plenty to live up to after such a strong performance, and they definitely suffered for it up to a point. Their set still proved a bewitching treat and the audience's enthusiasm was bountiful, expressed by some freaky dance moves - it's just that it would have taken something that little bit extra extra special to top the openers. On any other night they would surely have stolen the show but as it was they took a strong second. The pair's album translated surprisingly well live, injected with more verve and bounce than on record, but still managing to retain the creeping sense of unease that is the beating heart of their work. Iggy Pop cover Nightclubbing proved an obvious crowdpleaser and the beguiling grooves of Texas Rangers and What's Happening in the City both went down particularly well, with the deranged yelps and hollers that permeate the duo's Land For Renegades album all present and correct. Although the set did seem to drag on a touch at points, the strength of their performance prompted more than one call for an encore and ultimately complementary, wonderfully intense showings from two quality acts contributed equally to a great evening of music.