Live Review: HMLTD – Liverpool


Arts Club, Liverpool, 13th February 2020

Words and Photos by Lucy McLachlan

Last time I saw HMLTD it was the end of 2018 and they blew the roof off The Ritz in Manchester even though they were only cast as a support act.  Taking over the stage in various shades of leather, neon and face paint darting all over the place in an explosive performance, I, and the audience, couldn’t keep up.  They were flying high off a hyped up industry buzz.   This time they’re at the Arts Club, hot off the back of their brand new, debut album West of Eden. It’s been a long time coming.

HMLTD 2Listening to West Of Eden, it’s a mix of the industrial trap 80s vocal we’ve seen live but with added long dark acoustic tracks about war, doom and gloom and being poor that seemed to contrast what their live shows were known for.  There’s also a full on Morricone western style guitar instrumental, The Ballard of Calamity Jane.

So I wondered if the album would cause a shift in the explosive vibrant live shows and how the quieter songs fit into the set.  Maybe they were there before and we missed them.

Piss Kitti are up first with their blast of super fast paced riot grrrl noise punk. Singer Esme Grace Brown, an equal mix of Amyl & The Sniffers’ Amy Taylor and David Bowie, bouncing around in volumes of champagne satin whilst clutching a tin of Stella.  From recently supporting Atlanta flower punks The Black Lips, their track Family Tree is added into the set as a cover complete with kazoo to make it their own.  Piss Kitti’s live shows get tighter every time and really are a must see as soon as you get the chance.

SPQR are HMLTD’s main support for a few dates on this tour and quite rightly so. Their own brand of art rock complete with it always looking like they’re having so much fun on stage is a joy to watch. All dressed in white, a few of HMLTD came out during the SPQR set also in an all white suit commenting on their similar choice of outfit. I wondered if this like wearing white to someone else’s wedding, but was amused at the reaction nonetheless.  SPQR

After taking a while to set up, HMLTD burst onstage pretty much right where they left two years ago.  Singer Henry Spychalski in bright blue satin gloves with a shiny silver suit, guitarist Duke styled in a full white suit with makeup smeared across his face, and guitarist James has looking straight from the Russian military.

We’re given a burst of New Romantic, fucked up carnival circus art rock, new wave and trap all in one set.  Single Hey Mikey is pure new wave pop straight from Top of the Pops 2, Spychalski’s voice has that powerful 80s deep tone that fills the whole space.

Attempting to play 149, we’re told their synth player couldn’t make tour and they’ve had to relearn the songs to fit in the set.  After giving it ago, the song was abandoned for the more well known Death Drive instead, which was more of a crowd pleaser and apparently not originally on the set list- bonus!

2018 single Flex comes hurtling out from the Arts Club stage with so much energy, fast HMLTD 1paced beats and synths abound and lights flashing all around. This is the HMLTD live show I hoped for. They’re incredibly tight as a band, bring a great atmosphere and a fiery live show. These tracks need to be heard in a live setting.

Older songs Satan, Luella and I and Where’s Joanna? are crowd favourites, and even though the Loft at Arts Club has a smaller crowd than The Ritz, they’re just as passionate about the music.

HMLTD have proven tonight that two or even three years on from their hype and a debut album later they’re still an incredible force when playing live.

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  1. […] Thursday night in the loft at Arts Club in Liverpool doesn’t seem like a momentous time for a London band, but with this being the first night of the […]


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