Hookworms, Virginia Wing at Stereo, 28/2/15

It’s safe to say Leeds five-piece Hookworms have been slowly but surely making a bit of a stir.

At the tail end of 2014 the band released their second album The Hum, which was my own entry point with the band and prior to tonight, a friend asked me what they sound like and I struggled for a straight answer.


Safe to say, my anticipation for catching the band live for the first time was high.

I arrive nice and early, well in time to catch opening act Virginia Wing, with the repetitive, haunting elements of their songs probably the highlight of South London four-piece’s set.

In general, there are some good ideas here, but they don’t quite land them properly; something is missing.

The fact the band look genuinely disinterested in being here doesn’t help matters and neither do their technical issues; not bad but nothing to get excited about just yet.

Hookworms experience similar technical issues at the beginning of their set, although in some ways it just builds the anticipation.

By the time they get going Stereo is absolutely rammed and I find I’ve made the fatal mistake of positioning myself right in front of the PA and feel the full effect of Hookworms loud, powerful sound.

Here’s an embarrassing admission: by listening to Hookworms on record, I thought the band had a female vocalist; alas, MJ is indeed a male with an incredible vocal range and a whole array of vocal effects and is, very much, the show stealer.

Unlike the band previous, every single moment for Hookworms feels big; as they play through a set mostly populated with tracks from The Hum, they take you through highs and lows.

Top marks for the bassist also, who pauses mid-song to interrupt some over zealous Glaswegian punters.

Similarly the band cope incredible well when a Bez lookalike takes the stage during the last song to… well, I’m not really sure what he was doing, he spent an awfully long time up there though.

Hookworms are exciting, they transition from quieter moments to a victorious, empowering rock band in what feels like no time at all.

It would seem, based on the size and reaction of the audience, they are creating something of a following, but it seems to me the band couldn’t care any less.

They’re in the here and now, for themselves, and that’s really what it’s all about.

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Words: Nick Ramsay
Photos: Sean Campbell


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