Holodrum | Mia La Metta
Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
8th September 2022
Andy Brown heads to the Brudenell Social Club to watch disco-driven post-punk collective, Holodrum. He shares his thoughts for Louder Than War.
Holodrum’s self-titled debut LP provided something of a shot in the arm back in February so I’m really looking forward to tonight’s show. The rain pummels the exterior of the iconic Brudenell Social Club as inside, the synth-pop supergroup prepares for their third ever live performance. This is far from the band’s first rodeo though as their number includes four former members of Hookworms and various other Leeds-based acts. All seven members are so inexorably tied to the scene that it seems like it was only a matter of time before they all got together. The album is a disco-inspired, synth-heavy, post-punk beast so tonight promises to be a lively one.
Much like Holodrum, Mia La Metta are very much part of the Leeds scene family tree. The band members also appear in discordant post-punk trio Nape Neck and the fantastic, 6Music approved Objections. It’s the scene that keeps on giving. They’ve set up in front of the stage with a stripped-back drum kit (any more than two would be an overindulgence), a guitar, pedals and what appears to be an old PC monitor and keyboard. Drummer Claire Adams ensures the set retains a primal and thoroughly hypnotic quality as the songs burst at the seams with off-kilter energy. A minute or so in and I’m swaying along, it’s nigh-on impossible not to.
“I’m washing, washing away” yelps vocalist Kathy Gray in increasingly urgent tones on Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are. Suddenly, I realise quite how intense the band’s performance is. The nightmarish dub-like groove of Policeman is both insistently catchy and unsettlingly sinister. They introduce a new track as a “slowie” and proceed to play a slow, psychedelic death march. The trio barely let up for a second, swaying along to every discombobulating groove like some perpetual motion, post-punk machine. Mia La Metta are strange and exciting in all the ways you’d want post-punk to be.
Holodrum is playing with one less member tonight as guitar virtuoso Sam Shjipstone is away but the remaining six members have most certainly come prepared. A quick glance at the stage shows two sets of drums, a guitar, a saxophone and a whole heap of synths ready and raring to go. This show has been a long time coming and the band is more than ready to turn the Brudenell Social Club into a veritable disco inferno. You won’t find many 3-piece white suits here though, just a love of Liquid Liquid and all things Tina Weymouth.
They set the celebratory tone with No Dither and some generous cowbell usage. These songs thrive on rhythm, with drummer Jonathan Nash and percussionist Steve Nuttall laying down some serious grooves. By the time Christopher Duffin’s saxophone kicks in, my mind is well and truly blown. Never has the disco ball at the Brudenell been more justified. Holodrum pours every ounce of their being into making this an unabashedly joyous, dance-inducing experience. By all rights, this should be Saturday night.
Emily Garner provides immaculately cool and laid-back vocals throughout. “It’s not in your favour/ and it’s not in your nature” she sighs over the joyous technicolour burst of funky electro-pop, Free Advice, “you don’t have to take it”. The song itself almost sounds like Talking Heads from some alternate universe. Lemon Chic remains a colossal tune; jam-packed with eighties synths, bold percussion and spine-tingling sax. The whole thing nearly takes off. Before playing a new track, someone in the crowd shouts for “a fifteen-minute epic”. The following track isn’t that long but it is undeniably epic. Each song is so richly layered that you’re constantly drawn into the band’s euphoric whirlpool of sound.
The beautiful Stage Echo finds the band slowing it down a little with mesmerisingly dreamlike results. Garner repeats the lyrics like some mediative mantra as the synths swell, “everything you want and everything you need”. Honestly, that’s exactly what Holodrum have provided tonight. It feels like some kind of glorious, cosmic therapy. Low Light compels the audience to shake their money makers. I’m not the biggest of dancers yet it’s impossible not to move when Holodrum are in full flight. They finish us off with the humongous Clean: a seismic slab of sublime synths and fantastically funky rhythms. Like all good things, the set seems to pass in the blink of an eye. Tonight felt like the beginning of something incredibly special. Can’t wait to see them again.
Find Mia La Metta on Bandcamp.
All words by Andy Brown. You can visit his author profile and read more of his reviews for Louder Than War here.