LIVE: Goat / Hookworms – The Albert Hall, Manchester
Over the weekend Far Out returned to Manchester’s most loved new venue to feast our eyes on a mouth watering bill spanning every corner of the weird and wonderful.
Topping the lineup were Swedish fusion masters Goat, who arrived armed with perhaps their finest effort – and rumoured to be their last – in the shape of latest album, Requiem.
But before all that came an onslaught of bands and DJs to wet the appetite perfectly. Adopted Mancunian Jane Weaver brought her encapsulating brand of blissed-out pop, before making way for a band of bona fide Far Out favourites to provide the undercard.
Hookworms have been relatively quiet since they finished doing the rounds in support of their second album, The Hum, but they’ve certainly not been resting on the laurels, as we’re shown in emphatic fashion tonight.
There are a couple of older favourites that get left out of their support set in favour of new, slightly more hard-edged material, but it’s fucking mind-blowing all the same. Saying that, singles like ‘The Impasse’ and ‘On Leaving’ have the room enamoured as frontman MJ’s distorted falsetto glides across the former church building.
But in all honesty, the bill-toppers are destined to be the jewel in this night’s crown from the off.
Goat describe themselves as a revolving door of like-minded “brothers and sisters”, performing in the kinds of disguises that mean it’s pretty hard to distinguish who (if any) the fixed members of the band are.
And the enthralling smorgasbord of influences that they weave together is just as disorientating, but none of this ever comes even close to treading pretension, or indeed daftness.
If you’re still unsure, picture a kind of Scandinavian mutant lovechild conceived by members of Led Zeppelin and Fela Kuti’s Africa ’70. And all that comes before we even consider the riot grrrl snarl of the band’s masked frontwomen, who arrive to bound around the stage and rile those down the front after an instrumental interlude.
The new record is probably the most laid back of the trio, but that’s certainly not an approach that dominates tonight’s show. Even those high at the top of the Albert Hall’s balcony are incapable of staying still.
More folk-tinged tracks like ‘I Sing in Silence’ are assimilated perfectly alongside staples and rabble-rousers such as ‘Run to Your Mama’.
There aren’t many aspects of this mesmerising set that could be described as conventional, but a rapturous response as the night comes to an end just has to spell encore. Cue a frenzied reaction as Goat return for ‘Goatman’, the first offering from a three-song reprise that tears the roof off.
Unconfirmed chitter-chatter seems to be suggesting this could be their last tour, we certainly fucking hope not. Outstanding.