LIVE: Holy Wave – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 11/12/2023

LIVE: Holy Wave – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 11/12/2023

It may well be the penultimate show of Holy Wave’s gruelling 27 date tour of Europe and the UK – one that began life in Lille in France back on the 7th of November and has since criss-crossed no less than a dozen different countries – but the band from El Paso, TX who six albums into their recording career continue to blur those boundaries between psychedelia and pop and despite vocalist/guitarist Ryan Fuson telling us “we’re fucking tired” they are showing absolutely no signs of slowing down.

Holy Wave are out on tour in support of the sixth and most recent of those albums, Five of Cups. Released in August on the Seattle-based independent record label, Suicide Squeeze, it certainly impresses as their most fully realised record to date. It comes immersed in transcendence and blessed from above with an intuitive awareness of pop sensibility. 

Holy Wave

And in opening with the new album’s title track, Holy Wave show that the music they have recorded in the studio not only easily translates to a live setting but it also arrives injected with added muscular heft. These are far more gritty variants of neo-psychedelia as ‘Nothing In The Dark’ – one of three more songs that feature from Five of Cups tonight – easily attests.  Here the five musicians hit a beautifully textured groove and glide along with some deceptively melodic shifts in their sonic gait. 

By the time that Holy Wave reach a truly blistering ‘I’m Not Living In The Past Anymore’ the five musicians’ collective foot is pressed firmly down on the gas pedal. This last song of the set combines all of the most essential ingredients of Neu!Hawkwind, and The War on Drugs as the quintet blast off into space without ever once lapsing into some sort of retro parody. Holy Wave are quite clearly their own men, a status reinforced with a stunning encore of ‘Western Playland’ from their 2016 album, Freaks of Nature. It is a most brilliant way in which to close out my own personal gig year.

Photos: Simon Godley

More photos of Holy Wave at Brudenell Social Club

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