Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Is It Me? - The Hubbards (Live at the Sesh)

The Sesh has been a staple of Hull's music scene, happening every Tuesday at Linnet & Lark on Princes Avenue in Hull, for as long as I can remember and last night was possibly the best lineup I've ever seen there. La Bête Blooms opened the night, followed by The Hubbards and Paris XY - an eclectic and exciting mix of bands based in both Hull and Leeds.

La Bête Blooms have been good friends for years now and set the pace for the evening with frontman Dan Mawer breaking down the familiar reticence from a crowd that's half gig enthusiasts and half regular pub punters. He did so by demanding the awkward No Man's Land between stage and crowd disappear, whilst using any space not filled to thrash around with his guitar, which took quite the battering over their unrelenting set of new material that will find itself on an EP that comes out towards the end of the year.

Paris XY closed the night and felt most out of place in this reasonably well-lit pub along Hull's recently gentrified avenues. From outside, I imagine their sparse drum machine and bass setup made it sound like one of the darker corners of Berlin's club circuit had been transported to this odd little pub for one night only. Despite this clash of sound and environment, they effortlessly won the crowd over and were the perfect end to the night.

They have remained firmly on my radar over the past year, having seen them 3 or 4 times since their set at Fruit during 2013's Freedom Festival. Of all the acts seen that weekend they made the biggest impression on me, cutting haunting silhouettes on stage with a mid-afternoon slot, sparse crowd, all the lights down and fog machine on max, offering the subdued melancholy of X-TG before knocking you over the next minute with sheer power reminiscent of Portishead. The vague similarities with some of Hull-born Cosey Fanni Tutti's various and most recent projects are most likely coincidental, but they are filling a void in the region's music scene that I have longed for for some time.

In between La Bête Blooms and Paris XY, The Hubbards made their much-anticipated return, apparently having not played to a home crowd in over a year. Unlike the other two bands on the bill, it was my first time seeing them live and they did not disappoint. Much like La Bête Blooms, their most recent material is arguably their best yet and the excitement around all three acts is palpable.

The Hubbard's recent single Is It Me? is one of my favourite songs of late so the video and pictures above were mostly made on personal whim. Generally I was enjoying the night too much to take pictures and video of everyone else, but for the benefit of anyone who wasn't in attendance, as well as friends and visitors to this blog from outside of Hull, you can see / hear what The Hubbards were like for yourselves at least, but I can't recommend any of these three acts enough.

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